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Thighs are powerhouses. They keep us balanced, mobile and on track in daily life — and in yoga. The quadriceps, like any big muscle groups, work best when we challenge them.

Yoga is a low-impact way to use our own body-weight and tension to power up our thighs without damaging our joints, or needing bulky equipment.

These 4 thigh-power yoga poses will get your legs strong, flexible and ready for action.

Awkward pose (Utkatasana)

This is probably the first pose you think of when you think of thighs — and with good reason. Utkatasna is a great pose to strengthen quadriceps, activate the core, improve balance, and build strength to protect the knees. For this posture: keep you feet parallel in the shape of an 11 (don’t let them turn in or out), keep your thighs parallel to the floor and keep your abdominals tight throughout.

crescent_lunge

Crescent Lunge (Anjaneyssana)

For a full-body workout focused on your thigh, you can’t beat Anjaneyssana. This energising pose activates all the large muscles of your lower body, with an emphasis on the quads and glutes. To protect your knee, make sure it stays above the ankle on the front leg; straighten your back leg, tuck the pelvis, tighten the abs, and reach for the sky.

Standing bow pulling pose (Dandayamana Dhanurasana)

This posture builds strength, flexibility and overall balance. To get the maximum thigh workout you must remember, the kick drives the posture. Grasp your foot firmly at the ankle and kick, letting your upper body and raised arm tilt in response to the driving force of your thigh. This should be a push, not a lunge! Done properly, you will really feel the burn in your thighs.

Bow pose (Dhanurasana)

Rounding out your thigh session with Dhanurasana is a great way to build stamina. Though we often think of it as a back-strengthening pose (which it is) it is also a terrific challenge to the quads. The key is to maintain good form — keeping your knees and feet six inches apart, and performing the pose very slowly. Don’t rush to your maximum expression then flop down. Work gently to the point you can maintain the posture and hold it. Start with 10 seconds, or even five. Work up till you can hold it for 30-45 seconds and you will notice a difference!

Read more: 3 energetic yoga poses,  Awkward pose – tips for strong legs