Yoga for the Summer With Candace Morano

With summer quickly approaching, many are working overtime at the gym and at home as they prepare for bikinis, short shorts, and strapless dresses.  However, making time to incorporate exercise into an already hectic schedule is a huge deterrent for those who want to be fit but are short on time.

With this common issue in mind, certified yoga instructor and founder of Explore Vidya Yoga, Candace Morano recommends the top most effective yoga poses to get your body “summer ready!”

1. Downward Facing Dog Split

  • How to “Strike the Pose”:

a) Start in the normal Downward Facing Dog pose with your feet together and hands shoulder width apart (body should be the shape of a pyramid).

b) Inhale and lift the right leg up so that your body is a straight diagonal line from your arms to your toes.

c) Next, inhale again and stretch your right leg out to the right, keeping it as high as possible.

d) Exhale, bringing the right leg back to downward dog pose and repeat two more times.

e) Do the same with your left leg keeping the movement steady with an even breath.

  • Body Benefits: “Downward Facing Dog Split is an excellent pose to tone the hips, outer thighs and buttocks,” says Candace.  “It also lengthens the spine and hamstrings while strengthen the arms, shoulders, thighs feet and ankles.”


2.  Plank Pose (with a Twist)

  • How to “Strike the Pose”:

a) Coming from Downward Facing Dog Position, inhale and take your right knee towards your right elbow.

b) Exhale, staying lifted through your pelvis and hips while gently pushing your heart forward, keeping the right knee softly resting on or stretching toward your right elbow. 

c) Repeat this pose two more times with a steady breath then repeat three times on the left side.

  • Body Benefits: “This is a more challenging version of Plank Pose that will do wonders when aiming to tone your core, arms and thighs,” says Candace. 


3.  Warrior II

  • How to “Strike the Pose”:

a) From Plank Position, inhale and move your right foot forward between your hands, engaging the core as in the last asana. 

b) Exhale and place your right foot firmly onto the earth.  Inhale and like a windmill, rise up into the standing position.

c) Exhale again, as you bend your right thigh parallel to the floor.

d) Inhale and ground your left foot 45 degrees into the earth.  Feel your inner thighs widen and stretch.

e) Pressing the ball of your right foot, inhale and straighten your right leg.  Exhale and bend the right thigh deeper extending the chest and keeping it over the hips and pelvis. 

f) Repeat the pose two more times on this side and three times on the left side, feeling stronger and more length with each repetition. 

  • Body Benefits: “This pose will tone and tighten your legs, arms while opening your hips,” says Candace.

4.  Upward Facing Dog

  • How to “Strike the Pose”:

a) From the plank position, move slowly into the Upward Facing Dog position (similar to the Cobra pose, but using arms to lift the pelvis and thighs off of the earth).  Lift the chest forwarded and up keeping your arms straight.  “It’s important to bend the elbow slightly to avoid hyperextension of the joint,” advises Candace.

b) Exhale into the legs, tops of the feet pressed firmly into the floor, feeling the support of the earth rising up from the tops of your toes to the crown of your head.

c) Repeat the sequence of moving from Plank Position asana to Upward Facing Dog three times, allowing the breath to fuel the movement

  • Body Benefits: “The movements and transitions of this pose strengthen the arms, wrists and back of the legs all while stretching and toning the chest,” says Candace.

5.  West Side Lunge

  • How to “Strike the Pose”:

a) Inhale from Upward Facing Dog and exhale to your hands and knees.

b) Inhale again, placing your right foot between your hands.

c) Exhale as you start to turn to the left coming into the pose keeping your hands on the earth, core engaged, chest lifted and spine long.

d) Inhale lifting up from the core and start to lift your hips as you shift to the right, coming into side lunge on the left side. 

e) Repeat this side lunge movement from right to left then left to right ten times coordinating each movement with a breath.

Body Benefits: “This side lunge will tone your buttocks and inner thighs as well as open your hips.”  Candace continues “this asana is a great way to prepare for your summer body as it will tone, tighten and create muscular balance around the knee joint.”

Meet Candace Morano

Candace Morano is a certified yoga teacher & educational kinesiologist based in New York.  For the past seven years, she has brought together the teachings of yoga, kinesiology, psychotherapy, and aromatherapy to transform the lives of the adult, children, and disabled clients with whom she works.

Combining her degree as a social worker with yoga and educational kinesiologist, Candace began to work privately with children with Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome and Autism.  For three years, she taught the yoga program at the Cooke Center for Learning, working with a body of students with a wide range of special needs. Candace also works with adults. She has taught programs to the parents and teachers of theLearning Spring School and the Rebecca School both based in NYC, incorporating yoga, educational kinesiology, and stress reduction techniques. Candace’s practice incorporates the use of medicinal oils for injuries and aromatherapy in the private classes she runs throughoutNew York City.