Hitting the dark gym in winter when it’s cold outside is relatively easy, but when the sun is shining and the last thing you fancy is cold air conditioning and four black walls staring at you it’s probably time to spice up your exercise regime.
Your muscles are likely to be tight and tense from Winter and in need of a good deep stretch, so looks like it’s time to turn to dust of your yoga mat and give your body a much needed detox. Energising asanas are an easy and efficient way to strengthen and tone the body whilst still being possible to do outside in the summer sun – so you can ensure you get that vitamin D in too!
So, what are the best yoga poses to strengthen the body? We asked Yogaia’s yoga teacher, Katja for her 5 best strengthening asanas.
Plank strengthens the torso, wrists and arms as well as activating the core and helping to improve overall posture.
An easier version of the plank is suitable for those who suffer with wrist discomfort.
2. Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Downward Dog brings warmth whilst strengthening the entire body. It creates an opening in the chest which allows the lungs to breathe easily. Downward dog asana is also another great posture for stretching the hamstrings.
The most important part of Downward dog is to try and stretch out the back area, do not hesitate to bend your knees so that you can get your back straighter.
3. Upward-looking dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)
Upward dog asana also works at strengthening the body, particularly the shoulders, back and triceps muscles. This pose will help improve posture whilst also opening the chest. Listen to your body. You should not feel a stabbing pain or pull in your lower back it should just feel stretched.
4. Variation of the Warrior one Pose (Virabhadrasana I)
Warrior pose not only strengthens the thighs, feet, ankles, calves and abdominal muscles. In addition to this it will stretch the hip flexors, chest, shoulder girdle and neck area.
In the variation above, the heel is off the ground. This variation targets hip flexors and the front of the leg.
Whilst practising warrior 1 asana ensure that your pelvis is in a straight line , you can raise or lower your heel in the air of the knee that is bent closest to the floor.
5. The triangle position (Utthita Trikonasana)
The triangle pose is an amazing pose to strengthen the thighs, knees and ankles as well as stretching the sides of the body. It is also an incredible pose at removing stress within the body.
The triangle pose helps to tone the waist and open the chest. Do not let the body fall too far down whilst stretching. Aim to leave the hand around the waist, thighs or lower leg.
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