You don’t need to lift weights to get strong. Instead, use these simple yoga power poses to build lean and sculpted muscles from head to toe.
Working out with equipment can be great, but it isn’t necessary. When you use your own bodyweight, you can focus on your form and alignment to ensure that you won’t get injured while building strong muscles. Another bonus: Yoga also helps to teach you to breathe deeply and move mindfully, increasing the mind-body connection and helping to relieve stress.
Yoga can also help correct muscular imbalances in the body. The following strengthening poses consist of isometric movements that shorten and lengthen the muscles simultaneously, allowing you to safely strengthen your muscles while balancing them out.
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Practice these simple strengthening yoga poses three to four times per week to build muscle and strength all over. You can do this routine anywhere – all you’ll need is a yoga mat or a towel for some of the poses.
These 10 Yoga Power Poses
Chair Pose | 8 breaths
Start with this challenging pose that strengthens your thighs, glutes, and core.
- Stand with your feet together. Reach your arms overhead and turn your pinkies slightly inward, relaxing your shoulders down your back.
- Bend your knees to sit your hips back and down into a squat position, keeping most of your weight in your heels.
- Lift up through the arches of your feet and squeeze your glutes and abs. Hold for eight slow breaths in and out of your nose.
Downward Facing Dog | 8 breaths
Use this classic yoga pose to strengthen your shoulders, arms, and core.
- Begin in a tabletop position on your hands and knees, stacking your shoulders over your wrists. Spread your fingers wide and engage your abs.
- Step your feet back and lift your knees off the ground to come into a high plank position.
- Take an inhale, then exhale to pike your hips up towards the sky to come into a downward facing dog. Use your core strength to lift your tailbone up towards the sky. Make sure your back is straight, bending your knees if you need to. Hold for 8 slow breaths.
High Plank | 8 breaths
This simple pose will light your inner fire and strengthen your entire body.
- Start in the same tabletop position as above.
- Step your feet back one at a time and lift your knees off the ground to come into a high plank position. Engage your abs and quadriceps. Hold for eight slow breaths.
Note: If you feel your lower back straining, tap your knees to the ground to practice a modified plank instead.
Dolphin Plank | 8 breaths
Your shoulders will feel the burn as you firm up your core.
- Begin in tabletop. Then, lower down to your forearms and clasp your hands together.
- One at a time, step your feet back and lift your knees up to come into a forearm plank.
- Take a deep inhale, then exhale to tighten your abs and engage your thighs. Hold for eight breaths.
Side Plank | 5 breaths per side
Strengthen your shoulders, arms, and core with this pose that also challenges your balance. If you need to, you can always drop the lower knee to the ground for a modified side plank.
- Start in a high plank position with your shoulders stacked over wrists. Spread your fingers wide.
- Shift your weight into your left palm and spin your heels down to the left.
- Inhale to reach your right arm up towards the sky to come into a side plank. Stack your right foot on top of your left and flex your feet. Lift up through your right hip and hold for five breaths.
- Come back to a high plank and pause for a moment before switching sides.
Baby Cobra | 3 reps
Take a break from the plank poses and tone up your entire back with this easy yoga pose.
- Lie down on your belly with your legs straight back behind you and your toes untucked. Bend your elbows and place your palms on the floor next to your ribs.
- Press the tops of your feet and your pelvis down and inhale to lift your forehead, chest, and palms off the ground.
- Squeeze your shoulder blades together and hold for five breaths. Then, exhale to release. Repeat for a total of three rounds.
Modified Chaturanga | 5 reps
This yoga pose strengthens your shoulders, triceps, and core.
- Start in a tabletop position on your hands and knees. Walk your hands forward a palm print, then shift your shoulders forward and lower your hips down so there’s a straight line from your shoulders to knees.
- On an exhale, lower your chest down by bending your elbows to 90 degrees, keeping the elbows back so that your upper arms brush your ribs.
- Inhale to straighten your arms back out.
- Repeat for five more rounds of this modified chaturanga.
Warrior 2 | 8 breaths per side
Holding this warrior pose will strengthen your thighs, hips, abs, and shoulders.
- Start in a low lunge, with your right foot between your hands and your back knee off the ground. Spin your back heel down so that your foot is flat.
- Keeping your feet where they are, inhale to lift your torso up. Reach your right arm forward and your left arm back. Keep your right knee bent at 90 degrees, bringing the thigh parallel to the ground.
- Keep your arms and abs engaged as you hold for eight breaths. Switch sides.
Crescent Pose | 5 breaths per side
This pose will make your thighs burn while you tone up your shoulders and arms.
- Begin in a low lunge position with your right foot between your hands and your left knee lifted off the ground. Engage your abs.
- Inhale to upright your torso and lift your arms up over your head. Tilt your tailbone down slightly and draw your belly button up and in to feel a stretch through your left hip flexor.
- Hold here for five breaths, then switch sides.
Horse | 8 breaths
Firm up your booty, thighs, and abs with this simple but challenging pose.
- Start standing sideways on your mat with your feet out wide. Turn your toes outward to 45-degree angles.
- Take an exhale to sit your hips back and down to come into a wide squat position. Keep your knees in line with your toes and tilt your tailbone down slightly, engaging your abs.
- Hold for eight slow breaths.
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