September 13 | The Practice | The results | The Science |
Doctors and exercise scientists agree that strength training should be an integral part of your health and fitness routines. And, you don't need to hit the gym or lift weights to do it! Yoga is a bodyweight exercise that builds lean muscle mass, reduces body fat, and burns calories more efficiently without workout machines or dumbbells. All you need is time and your mat!
This simple strength building yoga sequence targets the major muscle groups and builds heat in the body. Hold each pose for 6-8 breaths and repeat the sequence on the other side after completing.
Target Muscle Groups: Strengthens quadriceps and glutes
Start standing with your feet together, hands on your hips. Take a giant step back with your left leg and deeply bend into the right knee. Drawing your thigh parallel to the floor, scissor hug your legs and stack your back heel over your back big toe. Extend your arms skyward.
Target Muscle Groups: Strengthens quadriceps and glutes, stretches inner thigh.
From High Lunge, rotate your back foot 90 degrees and bring your heel to the floor so that the outside edge of your back foot is parallel to the short side of your yoga mat. Align your front heel with the arch of your back foot. Keep your front knee bent over your front ankle, with your shin perpendicular to the floor. Keep your torso stacked over your hips, spin your arms to the horizon and gaze forward at your fingertips.
Target Muscle Groups: Strengthens upper body and core muscles.
Cartwheel your hands to the floor. Frame your front foot with your hand. Step your front foot backward to meet your back foot. (Option to bring your knees to the floor for more support.)
Target Muscle Groups: Strengthens shoulders, back and core muscles; opens shoulders and hamstrings.
Release your forearms to the floor. Press your palms into the ground and keep your forearms parallel. Gaze between your thumbs and use core strength to you walk your toes toward your elbows. Keep the knees slightly bent with heels lifted away from the floor. Lengthen your tailbone away from your pelvis and keep the spine straight without rounding the upper back.
Target Muscle Groups: Strengthens the posterior chain (calves, hamstrings, external obliques, glutes, spinal muscles); opens chest and shoulder muscles.
Walk your feet back out to forearm plank and slowly release onto your belly. Bring your neck into a neutral position, chin on floor, and extend your arms long by your sides, palms face down. Lift your legs, chest and arms off the ground.