Continuing from part one of our summer body countdown, we move on to weeks three and four – strengthening and toning your legs and your core. Read on for Nicola’s advice.
Week 3 | Strengthen your legs
After months of hiding behind trousers or tights, make sure your legs feel strong, toned and summer ready with these two yoga moves, done once or twice a week:
Chair pose (takes around one to two minutes)
- Stand tall, feet together, big toes touching and arms by your side. If you’re new to this, stand with your feet hip distance apart instead.
- Inhale and raise your arms above your head, palms facing each other.
- Exhale as you bend your knees, bringing your thighs as parallel to the floor as they can get.
- Shift your weight into your heels, keep your breath smooth and your gaze forward.
- Hold for up to one minute. Then inhale and slowly return to standing.
Warrior 2 (takes around two to three minutes)
- Stand tall, feet hip-distance apart and arms at your sides. Turn to your left.
- Exhale as you step your feet wide apart, about 4 or 5 feet.
- Turn your right foot out 90 degrees, so your toes are pointing to the top of the mat.
- Pivot your left foot slightly inwards. Your back toes should be at a 45-degree angle.
- Raise your arms to the side to shoulder height, so they’re parallel to the floor. Your arms should be aligned directly over your legs. With your palms facing down, reach actively from fingertip to fingertip.
- On an exhalation, bend your front knee so it sits directly over the ankle of your front foot. Sink your hips low, eventually bringing your front thigh parallel to the floor. Keep your back leg straight and your body tall – don’t lean towards your front leg.
- Turn your head to gaze out across the tip of your right middle finger. Draw your tummy in towards your spine and hold for up to one minute.
- To release, inhale as you press down through your back foot and straighten your front leg. Lower your arms.
- Turn to the left, reversing the position of your feet, and repeat on the opposite side.
After you’ve body brushed and showered, massage Fitness Body Oil into your legs in upward movements. As Indian Bay and Clove Bud oils soothe any aching muscles, Sweet Almond Oil will deeply nourish your skin, leaving it soft and supple.
Once a week skin detox
Once or twice a week after skin brushing but before your shower, massage one of our salt scrubs (my personal recommendation is our Detoxifying Salt Scrub) into either dry or slightly damp skin (depending on your personal preference). Work in upward circular movements and pay particular attention to any dry areas, then rinse thoroughly. Blending natural sea salts, deeply nourishing plant oils and uplifting essential oils, these scrubs intensely refine, smooth and clarify skin making instantly noticeable improvements to its look and feel.
Week 4 | Strengthen your core
It’s time to start focusing on abdominal strength and condition. These two yoga poses do just that, as well as enhancing the strength of your back and hip flexors. Perform them once or twice a week.
Boat pose (takes two minutes)
- Sit with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hands resting beside your hips. Focus on your breath and allow your inhalations and exhalations to be smooth, calm and even.
- Keeping your spine straight, lean back slightly and lift your feet, bringing your shins parallel to the floor.
- Lift your chest, and lengthen the front of your torso. Then, extend your arms forward, in line with your shoulders with your palms facing each other.
- Balance on your sit bones, keeping your spine straight. Take care not to let your lower back round or chest collapse.
- Keep your breath easy, steady, and smooth. Focus your awareness within. Soften your eyes and your face. Gaze at your toes.
- Stay in the pose for five breaths, gradually working up to one minute. Then exhale and lower your legs and hands to the floor. Repeat once more.
Vertical lifts with a twist (takes around three minutes)
- Lie flat on your back and cup the back of your head with your hands. Bring the soles of your feet together and bend your knees out to the side in butterfly pose.
- Inhale as you lift your shoulder blades and head vertically
- Exhale as you twist to one side
- Inhale as you return to the centre and exhale. Repeat to the other side
Complete 10 rounds
Weekly detox ritual
A particularly effective way of beating a bloated tummy is with a detoxifying bath once or twice a week – ideally in the morning.
- Mix one capful of Detoxifying Bath Oil, one capful of Detoxifying Seaweed Bath and two cups of Epsom Salts in a warm bath
- Lie back and relax for 20 minutes
Rich in minerals and containing potent marine active Laminaria Seaweed, Detoxifying Seaweed Bath stimulates and deeply cleanses, while the Cypress, Juniper Berry and Grapefruit Essential Oils in Detoxifying Bath Oil work especially effectively on bloating. Combined with remineralising Epsom Salts, it makes for one power-packed bath.