Yoga for Strength Building

Most activities take some strength.  Yoga for strength building is a prefect way to add strength to your regular routine without having to head to the gym or use weights.  Each yoga pose uses your body weight to strengthen your muscles, especially if you focus on certain areas during each hold.  Yoga has toned my body more than using weights. A while back in high school and college, I got really into strength training.  I would wake up at 5:30 am and head to the school weight room.  This was an amazing feat for me.  I have always been a sleeper.  In college, I weight trained in the evening before rugby practice.

During my school days, I was almost always late.  I hated having to get up to an alarm (or early).  Even after graduate school when I was a teacher, I had the worst time getting up and to work on time.  Ugh.  But wake me up to run or exercise, I was on board!

Anyway, back to getting up early to exercise. Exercising early (or at least before I get going to teach or involved in something with my son) is something I have always been willing to do.  My day isn't started right if I don't do something like running, HIIT or yoga.  It sets the tone for the rest of my day.

Strength training has been a way for me to build strength for my other activities.  Running, swimming, rugby and now yoga have all benefited from me being a little stronger.

A lot of the time I would rather stay home to strength train, therefore adding arm balances, strong inversions and balancing poses to my daily yoga or exercise routine is vital.  I'm talking about the type of poses that help tone my whole body.

This whole body vinyasa yoga for strength video has many yoga poses that help to tone the body.  Below, you will find a few of the poses I incorporated into my daily routine.

Body Toning Yoga Poses


Hovering Tabletop: This is a great one to start building heat in the core.  It's a little nicer on the low back and easier if you are just starting out building core strength.  From hands and knees bring your belly button toward your spine, press into the floor with the palms and lift the knees an inch or two above the mat.  Keep the core engaged so there is no dip in the low back.  Hold as long as you like and release back to tabletop or press the hips up and back for downward facing dog pose.


Plank Pose: This pose is great for your core.  Focus on pulling your belly button toward your spine to engage the transverse abdomens.  Press the mat away with your palms and toes to really engage the whole body.

plank knee to nose

plank knee to nose

Plank Knee to Nose: To add more strengthening in your plank pose, lift your right foot up off the mat, hover or bring the knee toward your nose.  You can even work the obliques (side abdominal muscles) by bringing the knee toward the right elbow and the left elbow.

side plank

side plank

Side Plank (Vasisthasana): Another plank variation to work the obliques.  From plank, roll onto the ouster edge of the right foot, stacking the left foot on top or bringing the left foot to the center of the mat for a little more support.  Lift the hips up as you reach the left arm up.


Crescent Lunge-Warrior III-Half Moon pose (Anjaneyasana-Virabhadrasana III-Ardha Chandrasana):  These to poses help to lengthen the muscles while strengthening in the inner and outer thighs and glutes.  Step the right foot between your hands.  Root down through the feet, pull the low belly in and rise up, reaching your hands above your head.  Work the tailbone down while bringing the frontal hip points up slightly.  Hug the outer right thigh in.  Stay for a few breaths.    Transition into arch chandrasana by bringing the weight forward into the right leg and foot.  Core is nice and tight, bring the hands forward while lifting the left leg up.  Pause here a few breaths.  Bring the right hand down to the mat (or a block) under the right shoulder.  Lengthen the left arm up toward the sky, flex and lift the left foot up slightly higher than hip height.  Boom, feel the burn in that right thigh!!!


Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II): One of my favorite standing poses because if you focus on engaging both legs, pressing the feet into the mat and energetically moving the feet toward each other, you can really feel this in the inner thighs and front quadriceps.  From down dog, step your right foot in between your hands, spin the left heel down, bringing the outer edge of the left foot parallel to the back of the mat (I would advise you to turn the left toes in slightly as well but it's up to you and how it feels).  Bring the torso upright with the right arm pointing forward and the left arm back.  Soften the shoulders and bend deeply into the right knee.  Make sure the right knee stays in line or slightly behind the right ankle and the knee tracks toward the middle toes.  Hold and feel the burn!


Pose Dedicated to the Sage (Eka Pada Koundinyasana II): This one is a great one because it takes flexibility, core and upper body strength.  Come into lizard pose with the right foot forward, hands to the inside of the right foot (basically a low lunge pose).  Keep the right knee in line with the ankle while you hug the outer right thigh in.  Slowly walk the right arm under the right knee.  Try to get the shoulder under or as close to the knee crease as possible.  Spread through your fingers and press into the palms.  Engage the core and press the mat away.  Lean forward as you start to lift the right foot off the floor.  Maybe you can even lift the left leg up off the mat too!


Crow Pose (Bakasana): I always like to add this pose into most of my practices because I can start it from a standing forward fold or malasana (garland pose).  Malasana is a great pose because it deeply stretches the fronts of the hips and lengthens the spine.  Anyway, start with your feet outer hip distance apart, turn the toes out.  On an exhale bend the knees while bringing the hips down toward the floor.  Take a breath or two here.  Slowly lift the hips while bringing the knees as close to your armpits as you can.  Spread through the fingers and work the finger pads and palms into the mat.  Lean forward bringing your weight into your hands.  Play with lifting one foot up at a time or lift both feet.  Engage your core and press  the mat away.  Hold as long as you can while maintaining a stead breath.

Have fun!



Disclaimer: The information on this website (Alt Yoga Vibe) is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for medical treatment or hands on instruction.  If you are experiencing any severe pain or symptoms, please consult a healthcare practitioner.