When you think about strength training exercise, the first place that comes in your mind is the gym and heavy weights. But, most of the exercises you do in a gym are difficult and often leads to injury. While lifting weights can pump up your muscles for sure, it won’t give you the strength to balance your body weight, which can only be achieved by practicing Yoga. Yes, if practiced well and regularly, Yoga for strength training is highly effective.
This statement might look false at start but Yoga is a practice where you have to lift your own body weight. With Yoga poses you can actually strengthen all the muscles as it stretches and strengthens muscles of your whole body that protects you from getting any injury from day-to-day activities like bending, lifting, standing up, sitting down or walking.
To give you a clearer picture on this subject, we have incorporated 10 Poses in Yoga for strength training.
Best Poses in Yoga for Strength Training:
The Warrior Pose:
Also called as Virabhadra’s Pose, the posture is a great way to stretch your body and use the muscles of your legs, back, core, arms at the same time. When the warrior pose is performed, you balance your whole body weight on your two legs and bend your body backward so your whole body weight is divided yet giving slight strain on muscles for the balance.
Utkatasana is a great way to strengthen your glutes, hip flexors, abductors and quadriceps. As the name suggests, one needs to hold the body in a posture of sitting on a chair for 30 seconds or more. This might look easy to anyone but after few seconds on holding your body in chair pose, you might feel a stretch in legs, thighs, back and even core muscles as one use their core strength to balance whole body.
If you wish to have strong shoulders, sculpted back, arms, legs and tight core, then forearm plank (Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana) is a great yoga posture for you. For the beginners, forearm plank should be practiced on soft surface as you might hurt your elbow. One can start with 15 seconds and gradually increase once you achieve stability.
Upward Plank Pose:
This posture is more like doing a reverse plank as you try to lift your body upwards with your hands behind you for the support. Also called as Purvottan asana, this yoga posture strengthens your arms, wrist, legs and core. The upward plank might be difficult to practice for the beginners as one needs to balance body weight on wrists and limbs. But try doing it for small time like 30 seconds to master this asana.
There are times when there is an immense pain in our back due to any jerky moment. This is a clear indication that your back muscles are not strong enough. Doing Bridge pose can help you strengthen your back muscles, hamstrings, glutes, adductors and core. To perform this yoga asana, make sure you use yoga mat as it won’t hurt back and give your legs a good grip to balance the whole body weight.
Revolved Triangle Pose:
This yoga asana is mix of a good stretch, balance, flexibility and strengthening your muscles. Parivrtta Trikonasana also called as a revolved triangle pose is a great way to tone your thigh muscles, core, and back. In this pose you move your upper body to one side in such a way that your core and legs have to create a balance for the body. The best part of this exercise it also gives you a good stretch for the back and shoulders.
This yoga asana is an intermediate back bend that strengthens your back muscles, core, spine and buttocks. Also known as Salabhasana, in this you have to lie face down and lift your body in a bow like pose where legs and chest and bend upwards. The most difficult part about the locust pose is to maintain the breathing while performing the posture. Once you command on the breathing, you can easily do this posture that strengthens the muscles of your whole body.
The Paripurna Navasana or boat pose is a great way to strength your core and improve your balance. When you perform boat post, you put all the weight on your butts but your core, back, arms, legs and spine are engaged to balance your body. It might look easy but this exercise requires lot of muscle and mental strength.
Downward Dog Facing Pose:
This is one of the most well-known pose for giving a good stretch to thigh and calf muscles. But what you don’t know is the downward dog facing pose (Adho mukha svanasana) posture can strength multiple parts of your body like hands, legs, shoulders, and back.
The real strength of your body muscles can be tested when you have to balance your whole body weight on hands or legs. If you want to test your muscle strength, do try practicing Tree pose or Vrikshasana. In this you have to balance your body weight on one leg while the other leg is bended and supported on straight leg with hands straight above your head. Tree pose is a great way to tone the leg muscles and meditate. It might look easy at start but this pose can be only mastered with lot of practice.