If building upper body strength is your goal, a body weight bearing yoga class is a great place to start.
The stretches and poses outlined below can be added in to your daily routine to tone the arms, as well as strengthen the hands, wrists, and shoulders.
Added bonus, your core will get a bit of a workout as well.
1. Hands and Wrist Warm Up – Find a seat, however is comfortable for you. Reach the arms up, with palms facing forward, dropping shoulders down from the ears. Spread the fingers wide. Start to open and close the hands as fast as you can. It might not feel like much at first, but will start to heat up. Keep doing this for about 1 minute or so. Extend the arms out to the sides, curling the thumbs in and the fingers over top. Bend the elbows slightly, as you tilt the hands out as if pouring from two pitchers.
2. Hovering Table Top – Come to table top on hands and knees, shoulders over wrists and hips over knees. Firm up the belly, lengthen back through the tailbone and forward with the crown. With toes tucked, push into toes and palms to lift the knees to hover a couple of inches off of the mat. Inhale to straighten out in to a plank. Exhale, lift the hips up and back to down dog. Inhale back to plank. Exhale to hovering table top. Repeat through 3 times.
3. Side Plank – From downward dog, take your feet wider than hip width. Inhale forward to plank. Try to bring the right hand to your heart. Roll onto the outer edge of your left foot. Lift your hips up higher. Stack the shoulders. Maybe extend the right arm up to the sky. Possibly looking up at the hand.
4. Forearm Side Plank – Look to the mat. Lower down onto the right forearm. Roll to the outer edge of the right foot. Push feet into the floor to lift the hips higher. Maybe lift the left arm up towards the sky, stacking shoulder over shoulder.
5. Sphinx – Lower the left forearm to the mat. Drop the hips. Untuck the toes. With elbows under shoulders, lift the chest up, taking gaze towards the fingertips. Relax the shoulders down away from the ear. Find length in the back body.
6. Locust – Lower the chest down. Extend the arms back behind you. Interlace the fingers behind your back. Squeeze the shoulders down and back. Reach fingers towards the toes as you lift the chest up. Keep the neck long. Hold for a few rounds of breath. Then lower down.
Repeat 3-6 through on the other side.
7. Dolphin – Bring the forearms down to the mat, with the elbows not quite as wide as the shoulders. Tuck the toes. Lift the hips up and back, as if in downward dog but on the forearms. You might need to walk the feet in. Push the chest towards the thighs. Push down into your thumbs to keep from rolling the forearms out.
This sequence comes from Day 17 of my 30 day Morning Yoga Movement challenge. If you want to start with yoga every morning for 30 days, sign up here.
Or practice along with this video by clicking play below.
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