If you think yoga is only about stress relief and stretching, think again. This centuries-old practice can serve as a rigorous workout. With an emphasis on breathing and correct alignment, our exclusive plan consists of six yoga-inspired moves that will get you in shape in just 12 minutes a day, two days a week.

The beauty of this routine is that it can be done anytime, anywhere, at zero cost — other than your sweat equity!

Perform the moves in the order listed, with no more than 30 seconds of rest between exercises. Start with one circuit and work up to three of them and you will build strong, lean muscle. So grab a mat!


Target Muscles: transverse abdominis and rectus abdominis


How to:

  • Extend your arms and legs toward the ceiling, palms facing each other.
  • Your body is in a “U” shape.
  • Contract your abs by drawing your belly button in as you simultaneously raise your hips an inch off the floor.
  • Inhale as you keep your hips lifted and as you exhale, reach your head and shoulders off the floor as your fingertips reach even higher.
  • Hold for three seconds, trying to keep only the back of your waistline touching the floor.
  • Return to start position.
  • Repeat for 10 reps, and on the last rep, hold for a count of 10.

Related article: The Yoga Workout Flow That Doubles As Cardio Session To Tone And Lose Fat

Rowing Boat:

Target Muscles: transverse abdominis and rectus abdominis

Rowing Boat

How to:

  • Sit on the floor with your legs extended and your hands at your sides, palms on the floor.
  • At the same time, extend your arms in front of you at shoulder height.
  • Bend your elbows and interlace your fingers behind your head.
  • Lower your back and legs about six inches off the floor.
  • Hold; as you exhale, extend your arms once again and raise your legs, coming back to the “V” shape; then lower back to the starting position.
  • Repeat for 6 – 8 reps.

Related article: Can Yoga Build A Stronger Butt? These 11 Exercises Prove It Really Does

Flowing Triangle:

Target Muscles: obliques

Flowing Triangle

How to:

  • Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Keep your left foot facing forward and turn your right foot to the right, so your right heel lines up with the arch of your left foot.
  • Extend your arms to your sides at shoulder height and keep your torso facing front.
  • Inhale and reach your right arm and rib cage as far to the right as possible, then hinge at the right side of your waist as you reach your right fingers toward the ground in front of your right shin.
  • Exhale and contract your abs to bring your torso upright to the starting position.
  • Move slowly and with control.
  • Repeat for 8 – 10 reps then switch sides.

Related article: 6 Yoga Poses That Help Burn Fat & Build Strength For The Ultimate Body

Moving Downward Dog:

Target Muscles: transverse abdominis and rectus abdominis

Moving Downward Dog

How to:

  • Start on all fours with your hands shoulder-width apart.
  • Lift your knees, straighten your legs and press up into downward dog (an inverted “V” shape.)
  • As you inhale, lift your right leg as high as you can.
  • As you exhale, draw your right knee toward your chest as you round your spine and shift your weight forward, with your shoulders over your wrists.
  • Inhale and press back, keeping your right leg lifted, and repeat for 8-10 reps before switching sides.

Related article: 8 Yoga Poses To Strengthen Your Lower Back & Abs In Only 10 Minutes Per Day

Flying Locust:

Target Muscles: erector spinae, glutes

Flying Locust

How to:

  • Lie on your stomach with your legs extended on the floor and your arms reaching out in front, fingertips touching.
  • As you inhale, sweep your arms back toward your legs, palms facing each other and hands a few inches off the floor.
  • Lift your head, chest and legs, gently squeezing your glutes.
  • Exhale and gracefully return to starting position.
  • Repeat 8 – 10 times, making sure the action comes from your back and glutes, not your head and neck.
  • On the last rep, hold and breathe for a count of 10.