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Build Strength With These Challenging Yoga Poses!

Posted by Brittany Epley on 3/7/2017

Strength isn't necessarily something you are born with. Rather, it's something anyone can work at and achieve. Ready to boost the strength of your body? Try these five yoga poses:


Downward Dog


An iconic yoga pose, downward dog can be embraced by novice yogis, but it's a main staple for experienced practitioners as well. This pose involves placing your feet flat on the ground (don't worry if you cannot get your heels to the ground the first few times -- the more you do this pose, the easier than will become).


Then, bend forwarding, place your body in the shape of an upside down v, and position your hands on the floor across from your feet. This pose strengthens your upper and lower body, while also stretching out your spine. The first time you are able to get your hands and feet both flat on the floor, you will almost feel the power of the earth, coursing up into your body.



Plank Pose


If you want to build upper body strength, toned abs and leg strength, plank pose should be one of your go-to poses. In fact this pose is so effective and powerful, that many people have jumped aboard the plank challenge, thirty days of doing planks every morning and extending the time holding the pose by a bit each each day.


To assume the plank pose, lie flat on the floor on your stomach. Then, bend your arms, keeping just your forearms and hands flat on the mat. Lift the back of your body by rising up on your toes. Ultimately, as your forearms and toes support you, the rest of your body balances parallel to the floor in a position remnant of a plank. Hold the pose, focusing on your core and taking deep breaths. As you work on this pose, the length of time you are hold it will increase, as will your overall strength.



Dolphin Push Ups


This active move combines the best parts of downward dog and plank pose to boost your strength. While it may sound confusing at first, it's actually surprisingly easy once you get the hang of it. Start in downward dog. Then shift your body forward, rest your forearms on the mat and interlace your fingers. At this point, your head is near your elbows, close to its position in downward dog.


Raise your head slightly as you lengthen your body into a plank pose with clasped hands. Hold this pose for a few moments, and then, move back into modified downward dog with folded arms. Repeat these dolphin push-ups numerous times, and try to match your breath with them. Ideally, you should exhale as you move into each part of the dolphin push up, and inhale as you hold the pose. Focus on your core, and let those muscles guide your movements. Don't let inertia throw you forward and backward, rather use your own strength in a slow and steady fashion.



Awkward Chair


This relatively simple pose strengthens your thighs and glutes, but it also has positive impacts on your upper arms, calf muscles, abdominals and bum muscles. Start by standing upright with your feet not quite shoulder width apart. Then, begin to lower your bum toward the ground as if you are sitting in a chair. Make sure to keep your core engaged and your upper body straight, and as you lower your bum, stretch your arms high into the air above your head.


The first few times you do this move, you likely will only be able to get your bum down slightly -- that is why this pose is referred to as awkward chair rather just chair, as the final pose matches the position of someone as they are starting to sit down rather the the pose of a perfect right-angled chair seat. However, as you do this pose, you will find that your ability to hold the pose and your ability to lower yourself into the "chair" more effectively will both increase as your strength grows.



Tree Pose


Tree pose is also a great strength-based pose. Once again, start by standing up straight. Place your hands in prayer position with the palms flat against each other. Raise one leg so that your foot is flat against the inner thigh of the other leg. Hold this pose, keeping your body as straight but still relaxed as possible.


This pose strengthens your leg as you force one leg to hold all your body weight, but it also helps your core as you need your core engaged in order to stay balanced in this pose.


Yoga isn't just about flexibility. It's also about strength. While there are numerous poses that can increase your strength, the five above are great ones to try. Even if you just do one or all of these poses daily for a few moments, you are likely to see an increase in your strength.