Yoga is many things. As well as being meditative and enlightening, it is empowering. Regular practice develops physical as well as mental strength.
These four poses rapidly build strength and stamina in major muscle groups. As you practice them, you will feel energised and strong. Just what we need to power through the long tail-end of winter!
Dolphin plank pose (Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana)
In this version of plank pose, you rest on your elbows and forearms. It builds tremendous strength through your core and legs. To begin, place elbows under shoulders and spread your shoulder blades. Pressing down, you pull in your lower ribs and keep the abs tight while tucking your tailbone. Keep a straight back and engage your quads to keep the legs close together.
Downward facing dog (Adho Mukha Shvanasana)
Downward facing dog builds tremendous strength in your arms and shoulders. To get the maximum benefit, make sure you contract your outer arms and press the bases of the index fingers into the floor. From these two points lift along your inner arms from the wrists to the tops of the shoulders. Firm your shoulder blades against your back, then widen them and draw them toward the tailbone. This creates correct muscle alignment.
Awkward pose (Utkatasana)
This is a fantastic strength pose that is a big wake-up call to the major muscle groups: quadriceps, triceps, biceps, delts, abs and calves. The key posture points are to keep your feet parallel in the shape of an H or 11, never Veeing in or out and to keep your abdominals tight throughout – this supports your back.
Warrior 2 (Virabhadrasana 2)
This is a great standing pose to enhance your power and stamina. Warrior 2 strengthens your legs and glutes, opens your hips, and tones your abs. If you’re familiar with the Bikram sequence it will come easily. You step your feet apart, 4 to 5 feet, keeping heels aligned. Turn your front toe out straight and your back foot at a 45-degree angle. Raise your arms to shoulder height, parallel to the floor, stretching from fingertip to fingertip. Sink down into the posture, till your front leg is at a 90-degree angle, making sure your knee does not extend over your toes.
Practice these poses several times a week to experience new strength and energy!
What’s your favourite strengthening yoga pose? Share in the comments!