Build up your arm strength with yoga

Yoga is great for cultivating arm strength. Many women, myself included, feel their strength is somewhat lacking when it comes to the arms. Yoga offers a way to gradually build up that strength. Although many of the yoga positions that are arm intensive may seem physically challenging at first, it’s important to stick with them. Even if you can only hold the pose for a few seconds, it’s a start. Practise will help you progress and gradually cultivate greater strength and endurance.

Plank
The plank position is well known as the fourth pose in the traditional surya namaskara (salute to the sun) series. Begin in tadasana. Bring both hands on the floor and step the right foot back and go into a lunge. Then, step the left foot back as well. Bring the upper body forward so the shoulders are over the wrists. Keep the body in a straight line from the head to the toes. Do not allow the spine to dip or arch too much.

Chaturanga dandasana
Once you have mastered plank, you can move into chaturanga dandasana – four limbed staff pose. From plank, lower your body so it just hovers above the floor. Bend the arms so the elbows are facing straight back and coming towards the body.

Dolphin pose
This is a slight variation from the traditional dolphin pose. Begin on all fours. Bring the forearms onto the floor and interlace the fingers of both hands together. Your hands and two elbows should now be forming a tripod like position. Lift the knees up and bring the heels as close to the mat as possible, so you create a downward facing dog motion. You can stay in this position or if you’re feeling like a challenge, straighten out the body so the head comes over the hands. Similarly to the plank, the body should be in a straight line from head to toes. Then return to the initial dolphin pose and repeat several times.

Table top
Begin in dandasana and bend your knees. Keep the feet hip width apart and bring them about a foot distance away from the buttocks. Bring your hands onto the ground behind you and point the fingers forward. Then lift the buttocks off the ground. Raise the hips and chest up, but not too far forward. The body should form a straight line.

Bakasana (crow)
Crow is a difficult posture as it not only involves arm strength but balance as well. However, don’t feel daunted by this posture. Go within your comfort level. If you can only hold the pose for a few seconds, that’s OK. Each time you practise, you’ll gradually cultivate arm strength and will find yourself holding the position for slightly longer.

Begin in tadasana, mountain pose, and bring your hands to the floor in front of the feet. Bend the knees and bring them onto the forearms. Alternatively, you can bring the shins onto the forearms and have the kneecaps facing outward. Try to get your balance and then lift the toes off the floor. If you not entirely comfortable you can try placing a bolster in front of you to gently rest your forehead on. If you loose your balance take a break and try again. This posture, along with other arm intensive asanas is strong on the wrists so try some wrist rotations before and after doing the pose.

Veronica Joseph

Veronica Joseph

Veronica Joseph is an accredited yoga teacher who loves to share her yogic journey from travels in India, cleansing techniques, her favourite poses and their benefits and tips to remember when practising.

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