One of the lures of Bikram is its body sculpting power; the sustained postures force muscles to contract, developing shape and definition. To sculpt your inner thighs, exercise must engage your adductor muscles. The American Council on Exercise identifies hip adduction as the number one inner-thigh-toning move. You may have heard of hip abduction, which involves lifting the leg away from the body. Hip adduction is just the opposite and calls for squeezing the thighs inward so the inner thigh muscles contract. Several of the 26 postures of Bikram yoga cause the inner thigh muscles to contract, making it an excellent exercise option for obtaining tight inner thighs.
Standing Deep Breathing Exercise and Half Moon Series
- Whenever you are standing with your feet and legs together, such as in the Standing Breathing Exercise and in the Half Moon series, engage your adductors by imagining you are spiraling your inner thigh muscles towards the front of the room. These postures can be done by just having your feet together without any conscious leg muscle engagement, but you will be gaining much more balance and strength in your adductors if you consciously engage your inner thigh muscles.
- The Awkward Series doesn't require much flexibility but you will find that in order to keep from falling over, every muscle in your body, including those inner thigh muscles, must contract. Don’t allow your bent legs to open; keep them hugging in towards the midline to engage your inner thighs.
- This pose automatically engages hip adduction in the top leg crossing over. As you balance your body on one leg while the other leg wraps around the standing leg at the knee, keep squeezing your legs together as tightly as possible. Try to keep your knees centered with the midline of your body, as your inner left thigh squeezes into the inner right thigh.
- In Standing Bow you contract your adductors to keep your body pulled to the center, or midline. If you energetically spiral your inner thigh towards the back of the room, this will give you more stability on your standing foot. If you keep engaging the adductors of the kicking leg, this will help to keep your foot centered over the top of your head.
- Triangle causes a stretch on the inner thighs that can be felt immediately. Keep the knee of your bent leg perfectly aligned over the center of your foot (not too far to the left or right). Use your inner thigh muscles to keep your knee from veering outwardly towards your pinky toes. Feel the inner thigh contraction on the straightened leg as well as you keep energetically pulling your inner thighs toward the midline.
Standing Separate Head to Knee
- As your legs are separated, keep your inner thighs engaged as if your legs were a pair scissors. Keep your adductors engaged throughout the posture, and especially as you come out of the posture, as this will help to stabilize your legs and keep your balance as you lift out of it.
- To maintain the stance of the body being balanced on the toes of one foot while in a crossed legged position, all of the muscles of the body are engaged. Crossing the legs especially contracts and works the inner thigh muscles.
- Use your adductors to keep your inner thighs pulled towards the center of your body, and to keep your knees from splaying out to the sides.
Head to Knee with Stretching
- This is the final posture that applies direct pressure to the inner thighs. As the foot of the bended knee is placed against the opposing thigh, push your foot into your thigh, and your thigh into your foot. As you reach your upper body towards the toes, the thigh muscle of the outstretched leg will get stretched and toned.