There’s no denying that a consistent yoga practice will help to strengthen and tone the body. Ever since this ancient Eastern practice became popular in America, people have been enthralled with the multiple physical benefits of yoga. Because the poses don’t use anything more than bodyweight, you never have to worry about getting too bulky.
Yoga can create lean muscles that are long and strong. They also increase flexibility and simultaneously build strength. You may feel like you are elongating in every direction. One of the most exciting physical benefits of a modern yoga practice is how it transforms the arms.
4 Yoga Poses to Build Strong Arms
1. Downward Facing Dog
This classic beginner pose may seem easy, but if you are practicing it the right way, it can be a key arm strengthener. As you spread the fingers wide and press your hands firmly into the mat, you are lengthening the spine and building muscle in the arms. To perfect the pose, externally rotate your shoulders away from the neck to create space between your shoulders and your ears. Slowly shake your head left and right to relax the muscles of the neck. Your hips should lift up and back while the heels gently press down toward the mat. Always breathe deep in this posture and never strain.
2. Warrior II
Even though this is a standing pose and works primarily the lower body, the upper body component is not easy. After holding the arms out to the sides for a minute or so, the shoulders may feel a burn, which is sign of building strength. As you lengthen the arms, pull the shoulders down away from the ears. Maintain a long spine without overarching the lower back. Hold the pose for 60 seconds, then add more time as you build strength. Repeat the pose with the opposite leg.
3. Half Push-Up
This pose is the quintessential yoga strength pose. In a Vinyasa Flow class, we move the body through this posture over and over again, each time strengthening the triceps and shoulders. There is no denying that when practiced regularly, and with good form, this move will transform your arms.
Start in plank position with your wrists just below your shoulders, your fingers pointing straight ahead, and your elbows close to your ribs. Take a deep inhale and on the exhale slowly bend the elbows and lower the body down until the elbows bend to a 90-degree angle. Keep the belly lifted and keep the body in a straight line, then push back up or shift the chest forward into upward facing dog. You may need to modify this pose by putting your knees down.
4. Reverse Table
This an excellent pose to tone the arms, and an amazing stretch for the front of the shoulders and chest. Getting strong while increasing range of motion is the name of the game in yoga and this move will do just that. Also, for those of you who sit many hours a day, practicing this pose is a great way to help counteract the effects of hunching over at your desk.
Start by sitting on the ground with your knees up and feet flat on the ground. Feet should be hip distance apart with toes pointing forward. Bring your hands behind you with your wrists just under your shoulders and turn your hands out so that your fingers point to the sides. As you press into your hands and feet, lift your chest and hips up as high as you can without straining. The chin can lift, but to protect the neck, be careful not to drop the head all the way back.
Try these moves, and join me on 3 Week Yoga Retreat for more yoga moves that will help tone and strengthen all the muscles of the body.