Yoga Moves To Make You Fit

Turbocharge your yoga routine with these fierce moves

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Modern yoga has moved well beyond associations with gentle stretching and beginner workouts. 

I think the most I've ever sweated was in Marcus Veda's Saturday morning aptly named Rocket Yoga class at Frame Shoreditch. Even my earlobes were dripping. 

Having untapped yoga's potential for intense fat-burning and body-sculpting – along with its many benefits for flexibility and mental wellbeing – a powerful practice has now become one of my weekly non-negotiable workouts. 

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Whether you're a yogi or not, you can share in the advantages of some of yoga's fiercest postures by incorporating these core-strengthening and physique-defining movements into your workout. 

Boat Pose 

Navasana. Sanskrit for 'all hands on deck if we're going to keep this boat afloat'. 

Yep, you'll be engaging pretty much every muscle in your body as you balance on your sit bones and create a V shape with your torso and legs. 

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Squeeze your shoulder blades and extend your neck to maintain a strong flat back. 

Extend your knees and toes and activate your inner thighs by locking your legs together. Draw your navel in. 

Did I mention you need to maintain strong, steady breaths? 

Aim to hold your boat pose for 10 slow inhales and exhales. A great core finisher. 

Brit Williams holds the boat pose

Warrior III 

Target the oft-neglected backs of your legs with a Warrior III hold. 

This one is much like a single leg deadlift, but instead of using a weight you'll create all the tension you need through your body by engaging your core and glutes and lengthening from the top of your head to the tip of your toe. 

Brit Williams in Warrior III
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Try a dynamic transition from High Lunge to Warrior III to make your warrior even fiercer:-

Split your stance in a wide lunge position with your back leg straight and your front knee bent to 90 degrees. 

Placing your weight in your front heel, shift softly off your back toes and transition smoothly into your Warrior III, ensuring your torso and back leg form one strong line and your core is switched on to maximise stability. 

Slowly reverse the transition, shifting the weight back and gently tapping the back toe to the floor and returning your torso to vertical. 

Repeat 8-12 reps before switching sides. End on a hold for an extra shaky leg day finisher. 

Brit Williams in High Lunge pose

High Plank Knee Tucks 

Assume a High Plank position with your shoulders directly over your hands and your hips square to and level with the floor. 

Gently bringing a C-curve into your spine, draw your navel in and bring your right knee between your arms and towards your chin. 

Hold at the top for a moment, then extend the leg back to High Plank. 

Do 10 reps on one leg, then do the same on the left. 

You can progress this by briefly placing the foot down between your hands after the hold – the goal is not to move your arms out of the way. 

Seated Transitions 

Another core destroyer, and one that's guaranteed to make you sweat. 

From the same High Plank position, brace your abs and jump your feet through your hands, landing in a crossed leg position. 

Reverse by shifting your weight back into your hands and sending your legs through and back to High Plank. 

Set a timer and do 5 rounds of 40 seconds work, followed by 20 seconds rest.

Chair Pose  

Trust the yogis to make the already humbling squat even more challenging. 

Keep your toes and heels together as you sink your weight into your heels and lower into a squat, keeping your shoulders and chest up and extending your arms in line with your ears. 

Holding this Chair Pose is a great challenge alone for leg strength and spinal mobility, but my favourite way to incorporate it into HIIT workouts is with a dynamic transition to Corpse Pose (that's Savasana, just without the nice relaxation bit!). 

To do this, gradually shift your weight back and softly lower your butt to the ground, proceeding to roll each vertebra down until you're fully lying. 

Then bend your knees and press through your heels to come back to standing in Chair Pose. 

You can use a gentle rocking motion on the floor if you need help to stand. 

Superset 10 reps with a plank hold for abs that will have you saying Namaste to the masterminds behind modern yoga. 

Brit Williams is the founder of Fit Brit Collective. Between training clients, running bootcamps and teaching classes across SW London's leading studios, she is proud to work with ELLE to bring you the latest fitness news, trends and advice. Her fitness philosophy is simple – the endorphins you earn have the greatest power to transform.   

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