Hybrid yoga routine pairs each pose with toning moves

The Washington PostJune 18, 2013 

Want a physique as awesome as Jennifer Aniston's? You might not be able to see it in the mirror yet, but you already have one, says Mandy Ingber. And she'd know. The celebrity yoga and fitness instructor works out with the "Friends" star three days a week, using a plan she's broken down for wider audiences in her new book, "Yogalosophy: 28 Days to the Ultimate Mind-Body Makeover" ($20, Seal).

At the heart of Ingber's fitness strategy is a simple idea that she's slapped right on the cover: "Having the body you want begins with loving the body you have." It's the advice Ingber gave herself years ago when she packed on 50 extra pounds after a random physical assault.

"If I love myself now, then if nothing changes, I'll at least feel better," Ingber remembers thinking. The positive-reinforcement approach created a snowball effect of healthier choices. She returned to the yoga practice she learned from her father when she was growing up, and soon enough, she was pumping the pedals of a bike at the front of a Los Angeles cycling class.

Her passion drew in the Hollywood elite, and Ingber -- a former actress whose credits include "Cheers" and "Teen Witch" -- found herself training Aniston, Kate Beckinsale and Helen Hunt.

The method Ingber relies on to keep her clients red-carpet ready is a hybrid yoga routine that pairs each pose with a toner. So when she's on all fours for the spinal stretch of cat-cow, she adds in side leg lifts. After holding side plank, she does a set of tricep pushups.

"It's a little something extra," Ingber says. "For people who've never done yoga, it's something familiar. For people who have, it makes it a little more challenging."

Depending on how many squats she tacks on to chair pose, it can be a lot more challenging -- but also a lot more effective.

Ingber sees herself as a bridge between the yoga and fitness worlds. A self-proclaimed "cardio queen," she values incorporating other forms of exercise into her schedule.

That's why the 28-day plan detailed in the book goes beyond her standard selection of yoga poses and toners to suggest supplements such as dance parties, long walks and even mountain climbing.

Each day comes with an intention, a playlist, a recipe and other guidance, but Ingber wants to make sure her readers understand they have plenty of leeway to do whatever feels right.

"Nothing is rigid, and everything is movable," says Ingber.

No matter your mood, Ingber recommends carving out time every day to write down five things you're grateful for.

"If you focus on what's wonderful, that's where the energy will go," she says. "If you just did that for 28 days, you'd see a difference."

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