Guest Author - Terri Johansen
Recently I wrote an article about using the practice of Yoga to help build upper body strength. During yoga practice we use a form of resistance training; our own body weight, which provides the resistance. There are many yoga poses that fit into this category and I couldn’t write about them all in the first article “Yoga for Upper Body Strength”. Here are some more yoga poses for upper body strength.
Table top Balance:
Start in the standing position, Mountain Pose. Make sure are steady, balanced, and tall. Open your legs wide and fold forward. Place both hands on the floor between the legs. However they are about six inches apart, adjust as you need too. Lean forward and put all your weight into your upper body. It’s okay if your toes lift up. Then reverse and bring all of your weight back and into the lower body. Continue the movement about 8 times.
Begin the following group of exercises from table pose. On your hands and knees, your hands should be parallel, directly under your shoulders. Your knees also should be parallel and hip-width apart. Let your spine be long, forming one straight line from your tailbone to the crown of your head.
Grasshopper pose:Fingers face forward, and the hands are slightly forward of the shoulders. Tuck the toes under. As you exhale, bend the elbows straight back, keeping them tightly in toward the chest as the chest and chin move forward and down toward the floor. The hips will point up toward the ceiling. Inhale and come back up. Repeat 2-3 times.
Downward Facing Dog pose: From table pose tuck the toes under and press the hips back and up toward the ceiling. Press into your hands; lengthen the spine; draw your shoulder blades toward each other, lift through the armpits, open the chest, keep a strong flow of energy through the arms, legs, and spine, and breathe. (Can you remember all that? That's what teachers are for!) Begin with bent knees; as you are able, move toward straightening the legs and bring the heels toward the floor. Work on the legs only when you can do so without compromising the length and strength in the arms and back, or collapsing in the pose.
Bent-arm Down Dog: From downward facing dog, exhale and bend the elbows, bringing the forearms to the floor, continuing to press the armpits open. Inhale and return to down dog by straightening the elbows. Try to come in and out of the
Plank Pose: Begin in table pose on your hands and knees and both in alignment. Lift yourself onto your arms and they are held straight. Don’t get sloppy and start sagging with your ears dropping towards your shoulders. Take your right leg straight out behind you on your toes and then take the left leg also. This is a hard pose to hold. You must engage your core muscles and don’t depend totally on arms and legs. In the proper position your backside will be in one straight line. Keep your butt dropped, but not too low.
These are challenging poses and I warn you to be cautious. If you can’t do it then stop and ask your teacher for help with a modification.
Always check with a medical professional before this or any exercise program. Live Right, Practice Yoga.
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