While there's no miracle move to diminish back bulge — it's a matter of doing calorie-burning cardio to decrease your overall percentage of body fat — it's still important to strengthen and tone the muscles in that area of the body. As you begin to lose weight from all the running and Zumba classes you're doing, you'll reveal slim, chiseled muscles waiting underneath. Here are nine yoga poses that will target all the areas of your back.
What it works: glutes, quads, and upper back
- Stand with your feet together. Inhale to bend your knees and lower your hips as you raise your arms overhead, coming into Fierce Pose . Exhale to cross your right elbow over to your outer left knee. Press your palms together and actively push your bottom elbow against your thigh to lift and rotate your chest up, increasing the twist. Pull your right hip back slightly, making sure both knees are parallel.
- Stay for five breaths in Side Fierce , then inhale as you press into your feet and lift your torso, rising back into Fierce pose. Exhale to cross your left elbow over your right outer knee, holding for another five breaths on this side.
What it works: back and shoulders
- Stand at the front of your mat with both feet together. Shift your weight onto your left leg and kick your right leg behind you, balancing with your torso parallel to the floor. Extend your arms straight in front of you or do Eagle arms, as shown in the photo.
- Draw your navel toward your spine and hold Warrior 3  for five breaths.
What it works: back and sides of the torso
- Begin in Downward Facing Dog . Step your right foot forward between your hands, and rise up into Warrior 1 . Then open your hips, arms, and chest into Warrior 2 Pose .
- Place your left hand on your left hip and stretch your right arm straight out, creating length through the right side of your body. Shift weight into your right foot, and lift your left foot up. Plant your right palm flat on the ground under your shoulder. Bend your right knee or use a block if your hamstring is tight.
- Try to distribute your weight evenly between your right hand and foot. Look down at the ground and bring your left arm straight up. When you're ready, look up toward your left hand.
- Hold for five breaths, then try Half Moon  on the left side.
What it works: legs, core, and upper body
- From Down Dog, step your right foot forward, rising into Warrior 1. Straighten the right leg, and extend the right arm out as far as you can past the right toes. Lower the right hand to the floor in front of the right shin (rest it on a block if you need to).
- Shift weight back onto the heels, stacking the shoulders, extending your upper arm straight up.
- Try to extend through both sides of the ribs equally, drawing the navel toward the spine.
- Hold like this for five deep breaths. Then extend your upper arm over your ear so it's parallel with the floor, coming into Straight-Arm Triangle.
- After five breaths, rise up and repeat on the left side.
What it works: back, abs, sides of the torso, and arms
- Begin in Downward Facing Dog . Step both feet together so your big toes are touching. Move your right hand over to the left so it's at the top center of your mat.
- Roll over to your right side and plant your right heel down, balancing on the outside edge of your right flexed foot. Reach your left arm straight above you or extend it over your ear.
- Stay here in Side Plank  for five deep breaths, trying to keep your core strong and the pose steady. Repeat this pose on the left side.
What it works: abs, back, arms, and shoulders
- From Down Dog , lower onto your forearms and walk your feet out. Your body should be in one straight line with your shoulders directly above your elbows.
- Hold Dolphin Plank  for five breaths.
What it works: back
- Lie flat on your stomach, pressing your belly button into the floor. Bend your knees and reach for the outside edge of your right ankle and then your left.
- Once you have a firm hold of each ankle, try to keep your toes together, either pointing or flexing your feet. Inhale to lift your feet and thighs up as high as you can, and shift your weight forward so that you're resting on your navel instead of on your pubic bone.
- Hold Bow Pose  for five deep breaths.
What it works: back
- Lie on your belly with your legs together. Place your arms by your sides so your palms are facing up. As you inhale, lift your legs, head, and upper body off the floor. Your hands remain on the floor for support.
- As you breathe, try to relax your shoulders and the muscles in your booty. Extend the crown of your head away from your toes, lengthening as much as you can through your spine.
- Stay in Locust Pose  for five breaths, and then release back to the mat.
What it works: back and upper body
- Lie on your back, bend your knees, and place your feet flat on the ground (heels as close as possible to your booty). Bend your elbows and place your palms flat on the ground above your shoulders, fingertips facing your feet.
- Inhale, press into your palms, and lift your head, shoulders, and hips off the ground, holding Wheel Pose  for five deep breaths.