The benefits of practicing yoga have been heralded far and wide across the fitness world. It can help you fight stress, build muscles, improve flexibility, and even give you a longer life. In all, it’s one of the best physical activities you can pick up, no matter how young or old you might be.
One of the first things you’ll start to notice when you practice yoga regularly is how toned your arms become. Yoga places a great deal of weight on the forearms, shoulders, and hands, which leads to arms that people compliment.
If you’re hoping to specifically target your arms during your next few yoga sessions, here are eight awesome moves to master.
Even though your feet are on the ground in this commonly utilized pose, the majority of your weight is supported by your arms. To protect your shoulders, make certain your shoulders track directly over your wrists. You'll want to create a straight line from your head to your heels. At first, it can be difficult to hold plank pose, but with practice it can build arm strength that will allow you to perform more difficult yoga postures as well as mental strength.
» Do it: Place your hands on a mat with your shoulders stacked over your wrist, then keep your legs spread out behind you. Lift your hips off the floor and balance on your hands and toes, all while keeping your back as straight as a board.
Hold this position for a designated amount of time, and make sure you keep breathing, even when your body starts to shake with the effort. Begin with 15-30 seconds each day, depending on your fitness level. Every 2 or 3 days, add and additional 15 seconds to your time until you are able to hold a high plank for two minutes.
In Chaturanga, you are engaging the upper body to be much stronger with your arms bent. Holding in the bent arm portion of this flow will target your triceps and your lower arm muscles.
» Do it: Start in Downward-Facing Dog, press forward into a high plank, then shift your body forward so that your shoulders are now poised above your fingertips. Roll forward on your toes and breathe out. Now lower down until your arms form a 90-degree angle and stop just at that point. Straighten out your arms and come into cobra.
Even though this pose might look easy, it challenges your triceps and upper back, and multitasks by also firming up your butt and hamstrings. Hold this pose for at least 30 seconds, actively pressing into the feet to lift the hips as high as you can.
» Do it: Straighten your arms out behind you and keep your legs straight as you arch up into an angle. You should form a perfect triangle, with your body as the hypotenuse. Hold the position for at least 30 seconds. Every 2 or 3 days, add and additional 5-10 seconds to your time.
Read More: 5 Yoga Poses to Practice Daily
Yep, another plank. This forearm plank takes planking to the different level. Almost all of the muscles in your body activate and contract to hold your body weight up, which builds strength and muscle in your arms and core.
» Do it: This one allows you to rest your forearms on the floor with your face positioned above your interlocked hands. Then, follow the procedure for a regular high plank. Make sure that you’re not letting your stomach sag toward the floor or your bottom point into the air. The goal is to be as strong and unbending as a plank.
Begin with 15-30 seconds each day, depending on your fitness level. Every 2 or 3 days, add and additional 15 seconds to your time until you are able to hold forearm plank for two minutes.
When performing a Side Plank, you're not only engaging your core, but you're also building arm strength by supporting your body weight with one arm.
» Do it: Lie on you side and stack one foot on top of each other. Then, straighten one arm and raise your body so that you form a triangle. You can either place your top arm on your hip or straighten it toward the ceiling so that you’re forming a T, then hold the position for 30 seconds. Make sure to repeat the move on both sides so each arm gets a chance to bear your body’s weight.
If this pose proves to be difficult, rest your lower knee on the ground until you have built up your arm and shoulder strength. Begin with 15-30 seconds a day on each side, depending on your fitness level. Every 2 or 3 days, add and additional 15 seconds to your time until you are able to hold a side plank for two minutes.
Upward-Facing Dog is especially good at engaging your abs and arms. Similar to Cobra Pose, but with arms fully straightened, and the entire body lifted from the mat, supported only on the hands and tops of the feet. You can shift immediately into Downward-Facing Dog (next pose) for a quick flow.
» Do it: Lie on your belly with your legs hip-distance apart and the tops of your feet on the floor. Position your hands to the sides of your chest, then press up to raise your torso all the way up. Keep your shoulders back and down to lengthen the movement. Hold Upward-Facing Dog for about 15 seconds, breathing through the move, then transition into Downward-Facing Dog and hold for 15 seconds. Continue to flow black and fourth between the two poses for 10 reps.
This pose is great for tapping into your arm strength as it works in a unique way when compared to most other postures. In Downward-Facing Dog, you are pushing the floor away from you, attempting to offer more weight into your legs.
» Do it: Hands shoulder-width apart, placed firmly on the mat. Feet hip-distance apart, weight evenly distributed between hands and feet, with heels pushing toward the floor.
» Do it: Begin on hands and knees and then lower to forearms. Curl toes under and lift the hips. This pose resembles downward dog, but with weight on feet and forearms rather than hands.
Try this move these every day for a week or two, you will see gorgeous definition in your shoulders and arms.
As with any type of exercise, yoga takes hours of practice. Many of these arm exercises will seem extremely challenging at first, but as you practice them daily, you’ll find that they become easier. Commit yourself to at least 15 minutes of yoga a day and you’ll start to notice the positive effects sooner or later. Looking for a Yoga Challenge? Try our 31-Day Yoga Challenge, you'll learn proper form and technique by video on 31 yoga poses!