The trick to lean legs: lunges.

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Credit: Alex Beauchesne

I love showing off my legs in short skirts and tights. And that's all thanks to yoga—it has helped me get toned and feel sturdier on my feet (even in high heels). Having leg strength also lets me ace challenging ski slopes, ice-skate and chase after my son as he climbs up the sledding hill.

The trick to lean legs: lunges. In yoga, we do a variety of lunges, from Crescent Lunge to High Lunge to Warrior 1 and Warrior 2. This particular sequence is one of my favorites because in addition to defining your calves and quads, it activates your balance, core and brain. When you have to focus on the moves so intensely, you're forced to put your mind to work to get better results.

Step 1

Stand at the front of your mat and place your hands on your hips for support. Step your left leg back into a lunge, making sure your right knee is directly above your ankle and your left leg is straight. Hold this position for 3 deep breaths.

Step 2

Next, straighten your front leg on an inhalation, and then bend it on an exhalation into the original lunge pose. Repeat this 3 times.

Photo: Alex Beauchesne

Step 3

Now, keeping hips exactly as they are (try not to move them up and down), bend your back leg on an inhalation and straighten it on an exhalation into the original lunge. Repeat 3 times.

Photo: Alex Beauchesne

Step 4

Finally—and here's the real brain tease—straighten your front leg as you bend your back leg on an inhalation; then bend your front leg and straighten your back leg on an exhalation. It will feel like a teeter-totter motion. Repeat 3 times. Step to the front of your mat and repeat the entire sequence with your opposite leg.

Photo: Alex Beauchesne

Kristin McGee is a leading yoga and Pilates instructor and healthy lifestyle expert based in New York City. She is an ACE certified personal trainer who regularly trains celebrity clients in New York and Los Angeles. She serves as Health’s contributing fitness editor and is frequently seen on national TV. Her latest in a large collection of fitness DVDs is YogaSlim. Follow her on Twitter @KristinMcGee and like her page on Facebook.