At 41 years old, Jennifer Aniston has a body that's the envy of women half her age. And she credits it all — those lean legs, six-pack abs, and glowing skin — to one woman: her yoga instructor, Mandy Ingber.
"Mandy's yoga style has changed my life," the star has said of Ingber's routines, which are a hybrid of traditional yoga poses paired with traditional toning exercises. "This is one of the most fun, challenging workouts I've ever had."
Although Aniston has been known to work out with Ingber up to five times a week and has even taken her along on vacations, the L.A.-based instructor promises that getting fit through yoga is possible.
"Practice a little bit each day," she advises. "Do what you can, but if you can incorporate even 15 minutes of yoga into your day, you will notice your body, mind, and emotions begin to shift and change."
Ingber — whose DVD, Yogalosophy, includes two 30-minute routines and an hour-long challenge — is sharing her top five yoga poses with Marie Claire.
1. Temple Pose
Plant your feet wide, bend your knees out to the side, and open at a 90-degree angle. Sink your butt down in alignment with your knees then plié, squat, and hold for 30 seconds. Plié deeply 8 times, followed by 8 quick, shallow pulses.
2. Chair Pose
Targets legs and butt
Sink down as if you're sinking into a chair. With your feet aligned, hip-width apart, rock back your weight from the balls of the feet to the heels and shift your hips back. Align your knee over heels, butt back, and peel your belly off your thighs by extending your arms overhead. Do 1-3 sets. If you really want to tone up, you can also do squats.
3. Sun Salute
Targets abs and hamstrings
As you the inhale, sweep your arms over your head, and then as you exhale, dive forward — a swan dive with down-hinging hips. Put your hands on the floor and extend your chest forward. Step back to the top of a push-up and put palms directly below your shoulders. Firm your thighs and make sure your hips and shoulders are aligned. Resist the floor as you lower to a low push-up. Scoop your chest up and arch into an upward facing dog, keeping thighs on the floor. Roll over the toes and press back to downward facing dog, using your inner thighs and abs.
4. Tree Pose
Targets abs and thighs
Stand straight, shifting your body weight on to your right foot with your knee up to your chest. Turn your knee to the side and press the sole of your foot to your inner thigh or calf, depending on your flexibility. Put your palms together, extending to the crown of your head. Hold it for 5-10 breaths.
5. Reclining Pigeon
Targets chest and thighs
Lie back with your knees bent and the soles of your feet on the floor. Cross your left ankle over your right knee and flex your foot, then draw your right knee in toward your chest. Wrap around your hamstring and gently draw your knee towards the chest. You'll feel the stretch of your left hip.
More Tips from Mandy:
- "Make it fun by adding your favorite music," suggests Ingber, who plays tunes with Aniston. "Yoga doesn't have to be completely silent."
- Before you start any routine, take three long deep breaths. "Breath is the bridge from the mind to the body, so the place you set your mind affects your body," she says.
- Practice control. This extends into all aspects of life, including diet. Aniston, Ingber says, "is about the only person I know who can eat three chips," but having restraint is key.
- "Never force a stretch or a pose," she warns. "Simply allow your body to move to its edge."
- Pay attention to opposing forces. "There are three energies in each pose," she says. "Gravity sinking you down, inspiration extending upward, and the center point."