Most people associate yoga with flexibility, but yoga is great for strength training and muscle building as well. Focusing on building more muscle mass will not only keep your weight in check, it will also boost your alignment and stamina during your yoga practice. If you’re looking for new ways to build your muscle, here are the top five yoga poses that you can add to your routine.
5 Powerful Poses to Build Muscle and Strength
1. Chair Pose
The chair pose is one of the most deceiving poses in yoga. It’s easy to get into, but to keep a steady and balanced stance while on the pose is difficult. While standing on your mat with your feet width-apart, get into the chair pose as you take your next inhalation. You should have your arms stretched in front of you at shoulder height. Your knees should be bent and your hips back down as if you were sitting on a chair. You should feel this pose right along your quads. If you want to add more difficulty to the chair pose, try doing it while on tiptoes
2. Warrior Pose Flow
Also known as Virabhadrasana Vinyasa in Sanskrit, the Warrior Pose Flow is a short sequence of warrior poses that’s designed to improve balance and strengthen the leg muscles. Depending on the level of difficulty, the warrior pose flow can be personalized to achieve a certain goal. Traditionally, this sequence includes several poses including Warrior 1, Warrior 2, Warrior 3, and Reverse Warrior. There are transition poses as well before and after the warrior poses.
3. Crow Pose
Arguably one of the most difficult yoga poses there is, the crow pose targets your arms and back muscles. It strengthens your wrists and abdominal muscles as well. Achieving the proper crow pose takes time and practice. Following the proper sequence of doing the pose is important in order to prevent injury. You’ll know that you’re ready to get into the crow pose when you aren’t hesitating to bring your weight forward onto your hands and wrists. To challenge yourself even more, try a variation of the crow pose—the crane pose. Instead of bending your elbows, keep them straight as you lean your knees against your arms.
4. Downward Dog
The Downward Dog is probably the most popular yoga pose there is. However, it’s also the most commonly mistaken pose there is in yoga. Without proper technique, you won’t get the full benefits the downward dog can bring. This yoga pose is designed to build your hamstring and calf muscles, and you’ll definitely feel that burn while on the pose. A few things to look out for when doing the yoga pose include your heel release, butt positioning, and your feet positioning. Also, make sure that you don’t have a banana back when doing the downward dog; you want your back to be as flat as possible.
It’s a plank, and it’s a pushup. The Chaturanga is a difficult pose to pull off, but its benefits are tremendous. You’ll be working on your back, shoulders, arms, and abdominal muscles every time you get into the Chaturanga pose. The Chaturanga is also part of the Vinyasa flow, and doing it properly will take regular practice. Remember to always keep your core engaged and do the movements slowly in order to do a proper Chaturanga.
Building More Strength in Yoga
If you are wanting to build even more strength in your yoga practice you can experiment with using weights with your asanas. Iron Yoga and Kettlebell Yoga are two different types of classes that utilize free weights with yoga poses. If you are interested, there are several books and websites where you can learn more info about these classes.