Do you want stronger and toned arms? Is it even possible to sculpt arms and build up arm strength in yoga?
The answer is yes, definitely! Yoga is one of the best ways to build upper-body strength. Your body weight does provide adequate resistance for you.
Various styles of yoga can be effective for building muscles. Moving through more dynamic poses like in Vinyasa class, leads to more calories and fat burnt, which means more visibility of those muscles. And, the longer you hold each pose, the more strength and endurance you will build.
Do these poses as a sequence 3 to 5 times a week for 3 sets to tone up and build muscle. Start with 1 set and build up as you get stronger. Make sure to warm up your fingers, hands, arms and shoulder before beginning this practice and modify the pose by bringing the knees down.
DOWNWARD FACING DOG — HIGH PLANK
Plant your hands to the mat, shoulder width apart. Spread your fingers wide and press your hips up and back so your body looks like an upside-down V. Draw your navel to the spine. This is Downward Facing Dog. Shift your weight forward to Plank. Your shoulders stack directly above your wrists. Chin is slightly tucked so that your neck is a continuation of your spine. Hold the pose for 5 breaths then shift back to Down Dog. Shift back and forth for 5 — 15 times.
DOWNWARD FACING DOG — HIGH PLANK — CHATURANGA
From Downward Facing Dog to High Plank, count 5 as you lower your body to Chaturanga. Keeping your body in a straight line and bending elbows to 90 degrees while lowering toward floor. Contract abs; be careful not to collapse your shoulders. Count again for 5 as you shift your body up to High Plank to return to Downward Facing Dog. Do it for 5 -15 reps.
UPWARD FACING DOG — DOUBLE CHATURANGA
Begin with Downward Dog to High Plank to Chaturanga. Inhale to Upward Facing Dog, lower your hips toward floor. Untuck toes; roll your shoulders up and back. Push into hands, straightening arms, lifting chest and engaging abs. Exhale, shift back to Chaturanga, inhale to High Plank then exhale, lifting hips to return to Downward Facing Dog. Do it for 5 -15 reps.
SIDE PLANK VARIATIONS
Begin in Plank. Roll onto the outer edge of your right foot. Stack your left foot on top of your right. Press deeply into your right palm to bring your shoulder away from your ear and stack your lift shoulder directly above your right. Engage your obliques by lifting and stacking your hips. Extend your left arm straight up, and gaze sideways or upward. Stay for 5 — 15 breaths. Modify by bending your left knee, place your left foot in front of your right thigh. If you feel playful, lift your left leg up in Starfish or if you want more challenge, do a Side Plank Crunch. Bring your left leg up toward your shoulder to lightly tap your left elbow and keep your hips lifted. Repeat on the opposite side.
DOWNWARD FACING DOG — DOLPHIN POSE
Start in Downward Facing Dog. Exhale; wrap your shoulders and bring your forearms and elbows to the mat into Dolphin then inhale, push back to Downward Facing Dog. Shift back and forth for 5 — 15 times. To modify, do one arm at a time.
— Nerry Toledo is a Dubai-based yoga instructor. She conducts regular give-what-you-can community classes to make yoga more accessible for everyone. For schedules and locations, go to www.nerryfit.com