Yoga Poses For Strength

I do enjoy going to the gym, but yoga is my preferred way to work out. It’s both challenging and relaxing. The following poses are ways to build strength through yoga. They can be practiced as separate exercises, or linked together to create a flow. The best thing about yoga is that you can practice it anywhere and you do not need any equipment. Always listen to your body, and do what feels best for you. Get creative and create your own workout through yoga.

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Chair Pose (Utkatasana) Pulses

  1. From Mountain Pose, keeping the toes together and the heels slightly apart, bend the knees keeping the weight in the heels and shift the hips back and down. Bring your arms overhead. Both knees should be touching and in line with one another. Hold here for 5 breaths.
  2. Bring your palms together in front of your chest and lift your heels off the ground. Pulse up and down 5 times. Return heels to the ground and raise arms overhead.

Revolved Chair Pose (Parivrtta Utkatasana)

  1. From Chair Pose bring your palms together in front of your chest. Bring the crown of the head slightly forward, keeping a long spine and twist to the right bringing the left elbow to the outside of the right knee. Hold here for a breath before inhaling back to center. Exhale, this time twisting to the left bringing the right elbow to the outside of the left knee. Hold here for a breath and repeat for 4 more breaths on each side. 
Crow

Side Crow (Parsva Bakasana)

  1. From Chair Pose with palms together at the chest, once again twist to the right bringing your left elbow to the outside of your right knee. Sink into your hips deeply and place the palms on the floor beside you – coming on to the balls of the feet if needed. Hands should be shoulder-distance apart and fingers spread wide. Gaze at your fingertips and bend elbows to a 90 degree angle. Begin to shift your hips slightly to the right allowing your weight to shift from your feet to your hands. Lead with your chest and press evenly between the hands. Hold here for 5 breaths.
  2. Slowly bring your feet back to the mat and bring them to be as wide as your mat. Drop your torso slightly forward and bring your palms together in front of your chest. Bring your upper arms to the inside of your knees and press your elbows into the inside of your knees. Keep a long spine, relaxed shoulders and most of the weight in your heels. Hold here for 5 breaths.
  3. Repeat Side Crow on the left side, holding for 5 breaths.

Crescent Lunge (Anjaneyasana) Dips

  1. From Mountain Pose bring your palms together in front of your chest and step the right foot back and bend the front knee to a 90 degree angle, keeping your knee over your ankle. Come on to the ball of your back foot. Engage your back leg to keep a strong and active back leg. Hold here for 5 breaths.
  2. Slowly drop your back knee for 10 counts.
  3. Bring your right leg to meet your left and repeat on the left side.
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Goddess Pose (Utkata Konasana)

  1. Start in a wide standing stance sideways on your mat. Point your toes to the corners of your mat so that your feet are at a 45 degree angle. Slowly bend your knees in the same direction as your toes and begin to lower your hips. Lift your arms to the sides bringing them to shoulder height, and bend your elbows to 90 degrees. Spread your fingertips wide and activate the muscles across your back. Keep your spine long, engage your core, and draw your tailbone in the direction of the floor. Hold here for 5 breaths.
  2. Slowly lift one heel off the ground at a time. Next, try lifting both heels off the ground and holding for 5 breaths.

Warrior III (Virabhadrasana III)

  1. Beginning in Mountain Pose, raise your upper body and bend it forward bringing it parallel to the floor. Bring your weight into your left foot, begin to raise your right leg behind you, stretching it as far back as it can go. Keep your weight in your front heel and push back through the lifted heel, keeping the hips square to the ground. Hold here for 5 breaths.
  2. Return to Mountain Pose and repeat on the left side.

High Plank Circuit

  1. Begin in a high plank position and push back to Downward Facing Dog. Lift your right leg, coming into 3-Legged Downward Dog. Round your right knee to your nose and draw your navel toward your spine. Hold here for 5 breaths.
  2. Return to your 3-Legged Downward Dog and next bring your right knee to your right elbow. Hold here for 5 breaths.
  3. Return to your 3-Legged Downward Dog and nex bring your right knee to your left elbow, holding here for 5 breaths.
  4. Return to Downward Facing Dog and repeat with the left leg.

Side Plank (Vasisthasana)

  1. Begin in High Plank. Bring your left hand to the center of your mat and start to shift onto the outside edge of your left foot, stacking your right foot on top of the left. Turn your torso to the right raising your right hand to the sky as you do. Stay here or try lifting your right foot. Hold here for 5 breaths.
  2. Return to High Plank and repeat on the right side.

High Plank to Forearm Plank

  1.  Begin in High Plank. Bend your right arm bringing the elbow and forearm to the floor. Bend your left arm bringing your other elbow and forearm to the floor so you are in a forearm plank. Bring your right hand back to the mat and push back up to a high plank as you bring your left hand back to the mat. Repeat that cycle starting with your left arm. Repeat so you have done a total of 5 cycles with each arm.

Forearm Plank (Phalakasana) & Dolphin Pose (Catur Svanasana)

  1. Begin in a forearm plank. Engage your core by tucking your pelvis under and pressing back between your shoulder blades to lift your body up. Your back should be flat and neutral. Lift your sitbone up towards the ceiling, coming into Dolphin Pose and hold for a breath. Return to a forearm plank and hold for a breath. Repeat this 10 times.

Locust Pose (Salabhasana) & Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)

  1. Begin by lying on your stomach with your arms at your sides. Rest your forehead on the mat. Extend your legs straight behind you, pressing your weight evenly across the tops of both feet. Lift your chest and arms and use your inner thighs to lift your legs up. Keep your chest lifted and widen across your collarbones. Draw your shoulder blades into your back ribs and extend them away from each other. Gaze toward the ground. Hold here for 5 breaths. Return legs, arms, chest, and forehead to the mat.
  2. From laying on your stomach, bend your knees and bring your heels as close as you can to your buttocks. Flex your feet and reach back with your hands to take hold of your ankles. Keep your knees hips-width distance apart for the duration of the pose. Lift your heels away from your buttocks and, at the same time, lift your thighs away from the floor. This will have the effect of pulling your upper torso and head off the floor. Gaze forward. Hold here for 5 breaths.

Staff Pose (Dandasana) & Upward Plank (Purvottanasana)

  1. Sit on the floor with your legs together and extended in front of your torso. Flex your ankles, pressing out through your heels. Keep a long spine and gaze toward your toes. Hold here for 5 breaths.
  2. Bring your hands several inches behind your hips, fingers still pointing forward. Press your hands and feet down firmly and lift your hips up toward the ceiling. Keep your chest lifting and your spine in one straight line. Work toward pressing the soles of your feet into the floor while keeping your legs straight and firm. Hold for 5 breaths.

Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

  1. Lie on your back, bend your knees and set your feet on the floor with your heels as close to the sitting bones as possible. Pressing your inner feet and arms actively into the floor, push your tailbone upward toward the pubis lifting the buttocks off the floor. Keep your thighs and inner feet parallel. Hold here for 5 breaths.
  2. Start to lower your tailbone towards the floor, but not letting it touch. Hold here for a breath. Lift your tailbone upward again, holding for a breath, completing one round. Repeat for a total of 5 rounds.
  3. Raise your right leg into the sky, and once again slowly lower and raise your tailbone 5 times. Repeat on with the left leg.

Boat Pose (Navasana)

  1. Start seated on mat with bent knees and feet flat on the mat. Face your palms to the sides of your knees. Lean back until your spine is at 45-degree angle and lift your legs so your shins are parallel to the floor. Hold here for a breath.
  2. Keeping your core engaged, slowly lower down to bring the middle of your back to the mat and your legs about 6 inches off the ground. Hold here for a breath.
  3. Repeat for 5 rounds.

Leg Lowers

  1. Begin by lying on your back with your arms by your sides, palms facing down. Raise your legs until they are perpendicular to the floor. Hold here for 3 breaths. Lower your legs by 30 degrees and hold here for 3 breaths. Lower your legs so they are hovering above the ground, and hold for 3 breaths.
  2. Raise your legs back up so they are once again perpendicular to the ground. Repeat 3 more times.
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Supine Spinal Twist Supta Jathara Parivartanasana)

  1. Begin by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Draw both knees to your chest. Shift your hips slightly to the left and drop your knees to your right side. If available, extend your left arm out gazing towards the left side. Ensure both shoulders remain on the ground. Hold for 1 minute.
  2. Repeat on the other side.
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Corpse Pose (Savasana)

  1. Lie on your back with your legs straight and arms at your sides. Rest your hands away from your body with your palms up. Let your feet drop open. Close your eyes and relax, letting your breath return to normal. Rest here for 5 minutes, or as long as feels good.

*You should consult your physician or other health care professional before starting this or any other fitness program to determine if it is right for your needs. This site offers health, fitness and nutritional information and is designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional.*

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