A Beginner’s Guide To Strength-Building Yoga Poses
As a beginner yogi, some of the challenges you’ll face in your practice is maintaining your poses. After you have learned a couple of basic poses, such as Child’s Pose, it is a good idea to work on your strength building in order extend the benefits of yoga. With these easy-to-follow poses, set a few minutes of your day aside at home or the gym, and start your journey to good health and endurance.
Likely to be one of the first poses you learn as a yoga student, the Downward-Facing Dog is a great strength building pose for new yogis.
Once you’re on your mat, place yourself in the starting position by laying on you belly. Keep your arms straight to your sides, and then bend your toes inward. Push your hips upward to the ceiling and then straighten your spine. Keep the pose for as long as you can, but remember to always challenge yourself mentally to keep going.
An important position to master early on, the Plank Pose is part of the traditional Sun Salutation routine and a great follow-up to the Downward-Facing Dog.
To start your pose, begin with the Downward-Facing Dog position then move your shoulders forward until they are above your wrists. Make sure to straighten your spine and legs and position your body as parallel to the ground as possible; your body should be as straight and firm as a plank of wood. Make sure to keep your breathing even, not allowing your head to drop, as it too should be straight. When you are done, simply bend your legs, touch your knees to your mat, and relax in Child’s Pose.
An easy position to learn for a great abdominal workout, the Boat Pose is strengthens your hip muscles, inner thighs, abdomen, and spine.
To begin, sit on your mat and place your hands behind you, sticking your fingers out in order to maintain a balance. Lift and extend your legs until they are parallel to the floor, and then raise your arms until they, too are parallel to the floor. Take a moment to reflect upon your breathing, and make sure it is smooth and even. If you can’t achieve the position without breathing heavily, simply go back to the prior position and work on the transition between the first and second. Once you have controlled your breathing, make sure that your abdominal muscles are firm as a result of the exercise. Keep the position for a couple of minutes and then repeat.
Since the Boat Pose is a challenging workout routine, chances are you’ll need to freshen up before you go out. When taking a full shower isn’t possible, or you’re just crunched for time, consider including a body cleanser in your yoga bag to quickly groom and look refreshed.
A true full-body stretch, the Locust Pose is seemingly-easy but is an ideal strength building exercise. To begin, lie facedown on your mat with your legs hip-width apart from each other. Position your palms upward with the back of your hand touching the mat. Lift up your chest, extend your neck so that it is in line with your spine, and look downward. Then, raise your feet slightly so that the only contact between you and your mat, is your lower stomach and waist.
Hold the pose for as long as you can and remember, don’t focus too much on going up high rather than holding the position. It will be challenging at first, but once you go through it the first few times, you’ll put your muscles in a much better position to tackle other poses.
To start, begin in mountain pose and slowly bend your knees and lower your body as if motioning to sit on an invisible chair. Raise your arms up slowly, with your palms spread evenly away from each other and parallel to your shoulders. Remain in this position for as long as you can, then slowly straighten your legs and lower your arms to your side. A helpful tip when starting out is to perform these standing poses near a wall to keep your balance. The point, however, is to eventually move away from the wall and build a strong enough core to perform them on your own.
While you’re on your path to strengthening your core and muscles, you don’t need to do it alone. There is a plethora of exercise and yoga beauty products that will help you get there sooner. Take the stress out of your practice and focus on toning your muscles—you’ll be holding your poses longer before you know it.