"I always leave feeling both physically and mentally challenged!" Zoë Saldana tells PEOPLE of her yoga workouts

By Gabrielle Olya
Updated September 07, 2016 02:35 PM
John Parra/WireImage

Zoë Saldana has been open about her struggle to bounce back after giving birth to twins Cy and Bowie in 2014, and yoga has been an important part of her post-baby workout plan.

“She came to me after she had the boys, so there was a lot of the usual mom wanting their body back, wanting their strength back, having to learn what could and couldn’t be done after having a baby, and also being really patient and with the self,” her yoga teacher Arielle McFadden tells PEOPLE.

McFadden caters her twice-a-week workouts with Saldana based on how the actress, 38, is feeling that day.

“Some days she’s like, ‘Kick my ass, I want a really good workout!’ and then other days it’s like, ‘The boys woke me up six times in the middle of the night, I’m so tired. Can you stretch me?’ ” says McFadden, who has created a series of audio recordings for the Yoga Wake Up app, available now.

On the days Saldana wants a serious workout, McFadden focuses on the core and glutes.

“One of my favorite things to make everybody do is forearm plank work, because you’re using your core more than any other muscle in your body, but it does work the entire body,” she says. “We’ll sit in a forearm plank for about 30 seconds, then I like to have her push up into a regular plank, and then come down into a forearm plank again.”

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To work the glutes, McFadden does a series of moves with Saldana on all fours.

“We’ll do leg lifts or draw little rainbows with the toes and do leg extensions where we lift the leg up, so we’re working the gluteus medius as well as the gluteus maximus,” she says. “I also like having her sit back and squat in chair pose. It also engages your core, but it focuses more on the hamstrings and the glutes.”

In addition to getting in a good physical workout, Saldana enjoys the mindfulness aspect of the yoga practice.

“For her, it’s been really nice working on the meditation and the breath,” says McFadden. “It’s about learning to take that time for yourself, especially when she’s got her production company, she’s acting, she’s got her family. You really need to be able to learn to find that quiet, and that’s been a really big focus for her as well.”

“I always leave feeling both physically and mentally challenged!” Saldana tells PEOPLE of her workouts with McFadden. “Truly, a full mind and body workout.”