Strength is the ability to resist, to say no. When I contemplate building strength, physically or mentally, I always start by clarifying exactly what I am resisting.
When it comes to strengthening muscles, I think less about of how I will look in a tank top or bathing suit, and more about the purpose of muscular strength – to resist gravity. When muscles are weak, gravity negatively impacts the alignment of our bones. When our bones are not healthfully aligned, every system in the body is negatively impacted.
So, a strengthening program should focus on improving our muscles ability to resist gravity and therefore appropriately hold alignment. Alignment-based yoga offers exactly that. On the mat, we are quite literally strengthening a muscle’s ability to do its job.
You don’t have to practice for hours each day to build strength. Start with picking two of the following target areas to work on each day. Practice 3 – 8 rounds of each suggested pose.
- Shoulders & Back: Bhujangasana (cobra pose)
- Arms & Chest: Let Downs and Chaturanga
- Core: High Plank (in a flow with down dog or holding it for 2 minutes)
- Legs & Hips: Anjaneyasana (lunge pose)
What are your favorite yoga poses for increasing muscle strength? Have you had success in transforming your body with any of these poses? I’d love to hear about it!
P.S. This post is part of a series about how I’ve used yoga to transform my body. See here for additional posts in this series.