Yesterday we discussed how yoga can be used for muscle toning, and how the visual results are very different from those of strength training at the gym.
Keeping alignment, posture, body lengthening and sculpting in mind, we now look at a few challenging yoga poses that will give your body the definition you desire:
Bhujapidasana, Or Shoulder Pressing Posture
Type: Arm balancing
End Result: Strong, toned arms and shoulders
Precautions: Do not perform this posture if you suffer from high blood pressure or glaucoma, or even if you have injuries in your shoulder, back, elbow, or wrist.
Step 1: Open your feet two to three inches apart, parallel to one another. The distance between your feet should be smaller than the width of your shoulders.
Step 2: Squat, thighs in line with the floor, torso facing forward, and hips up in the air.
Step 3: Slide your right arm behind your right knee, all the way up to your right shoulder. Now, place the right hand on the outer edge of your right foot.
Step 4: Next, slide your left arm behind your left knee, all the way up to your left shoulder. Now, place the left hand on the outer edge of your left foot.
Step 5: Lift your body with the strength of your arms, pressing down on the palms.
Step 6: As you straighten your arms lift your feet off the ground, point them and hook one ankle over the other.
Step 7: Keep your gaze focused at a point in front of you, and your hips lifted. Hold for five breaths. Release gently by bending the elbows slightly, exhaling as you exit.
Sarvangasana, Or Supported Shoulder Stand
End Result: Overall toning
Precautions: Steer clear of the exercise if you suffer from a heart condition, high blood pressure, migraines, or brain diseases.
Step 1: Lie on your back. Lift your legs up and swing them over your head with control, toes pointed. Attempt to the touch your toes to the floor.
Step 2: Now place your hands on your lower back, supporting it.
Step 3: Next, lift your legs straight up, so your heels, knees, hips and shoulders form one line.
Step 4: Lower the placement of your hands so that the hips don’t fall out of line. Gaze at your navel. Hold for 10 breaths.
Step 5: Release the pose by slowly lowering the hips to the floor first and then lowering the legs down with control, back flat, firmly planted on the ground.
Dandayamana Janushirasana, Or Standing Head To Knee Pose
Type: Balancing on one leg
End Result: Strong, toned legs and abs
Precautions: Not advised for those who have heart troubles, high blood pressure or knee injuries.
Step 1: Fix a point of focus for your eyes, shift your weight to your left leg; make sure you contract the quads tight, lock the knees, and pull up from the knee cap.
Step 2: Lift your right leg up, interlace your fingers and cup them two to three inches under your right foot.
Step 3: Concentrate on your point of focus, and when you are ready, extend your right leg forward until the leg is parallel to the floor.
Step 4: Continue to mimic the kick position, pushing the heel out and the toes in towards your face. Attempt to lock the leg.
Step 5: Once both knees are locked, slowly bend your elbows (pointing downward).
Step 6: Tuck your chin to your chest and slowly attempt to touch your forehead to your knee. Hold for five breaths and slowly exit the pose.
Sure, these yoga poses are tricky in the beginning and must be done with extreme care so as to not injure yourself. But in due time, the visible results will motivate you to keep on pushing through, and then you can introduce some intermediate yoga asanas to amp up the results.