Yoga for Strength

Yoga can be used to strengthen muscles, and stabilize the spine and other joints. Here are only some examples of strengthening yoga asanas and exercises. 

1. Sunbird/Leg Extensions/Donkey Kicks

Warms up and 'wakes up' the Glute Maximus and the Piriformis muscles. 

2. Plank to Down Dog Transition.

Inhale up to Down Dog. Exhale to Plank.

3. One legged Plank

Hold for at least three breaths.
Don't forget to breathe.

Rest in Child's Pose if necessary. Rest is essential for muscle-building.

4. Lunge

A. Dynamic back leg extension
Keep your hands on the front knee. Inhale up, exhale down. Up to 10 times.

B. Static High Lunge
Raise the arms for a more challenging version. Breathe evenly. Release when you start to tire slightly.

Switch sides. Repeat if necessary for more leg strength.

5. Warrior Vinyasa
Hold Warrior pose for 4-5 breaths.

6. Cobra

A. For back strength
Hold until you start to tire, breathing evenly.

B. For arm strength
Press down to roll up on inhale. Control the move-down on exhale. 10 times.

More challenging variation: Add a twist to look back at your feet on the way up.

Rest afterward.

7. Locust

Inhale raise the right leg, exhale down. Alternate the legs. 10-16 on each leg.

Repeat if necessary. Rest in between rounds.

8. Side Plank
Align the shoulders one above the other. Lower the upper arm on exhale; inhale up smoothly. Up to 10 times.

Switch sides.

9. Dolphin
Moving back and forth with the breath. Inhale one way, exhale back. Keep pressing the forearms evenly into the floor.

Rest in Child's Pose.

10. Dynamic Half Boat

Inhale up and activate the back muscles.

Exhale and round the back, engaging the abdominals.

Up to 20 times. Rest in Forward Bend.

11. Dynamic Boat
Bring the knees closer on the exhale. Inhale and open.

Rest in Bound Angle pose.

12. Bridge
A. Dynamic - for back and leg strength
Inhale roll up, exhale down. Coordinate the movement with the breath.

B. Static - for arm strength
Bend the elbows and press the arms down. Hold for a few breaths till you start to tire.

Rest on the back in a twist.