Building upper body strength doesn’t always need to require hours in the gym or heavy weight lifting. Yoga builds strength and tones the arms in a variety of ways. A regular yoga practice is sure to help build muscle in your arms in a safe way over a period of time. Follow along with this yoga sequence targeted to strengthen your arms.
Begin in tadasana, standing with your feet hips width apart at the front of your mat. Let your arms come by your side, palms facing forward toward the front of the room. Relax your shoulders away from your ears and close your eyes. Engage your core slightly, standing tall and strong as you connect to your breath, feeling the air as it enters and leaves the body. Inhale reach the arms overhead, exhale fold over your legs, coming into a forward fold briefly for transition.
From your forward fold, plant your palms firmly and step back into high plank. Press the mat away, puffing up between the shoulder blades and tuck your tailbone under slightly. Keep your legs strong and engaged as you fire up through the core. Hold and breathe for 10 breaths.
From high plank, lower halfway down to the mat, bending the elbows at a 90 degree angle as they graze the sides of the body. Keep your body flat and engaged, not lifting the but any higher than the hips. Hold for a breath, then on an inhale press into the mat and open up through the heart into an upward facing dog. Press back into downward facing dog for transition.
From downward facing dog, step your right foot in between your hands on an exhale, and on the inhale come up into a high lunge. Bend your right knee at a 90 degree angle as you fire up through the left leg, keeping the toes tucked under. Lift your arms up so that your biceps are beside your ears. Keep your torso above your hips and engage your core. Hold and breathe here for 10 breaths, relaxing your shoulders away from your ears.
From high lunge, begin to shift your body forward, finding a steady gaze at the mat in front of your right foot. Slowly lift your left leg off the mat and extend it behind you at hip height. Keep your foot flexed, toes facing the ground and extend your arms out in front of you, biceps by the ears. Keep a steady drishti, or fixed gaze on the floor as you hold and breathe for 5 breaths.
From warrior III, on your last exhale slowly step back, landing in warrior II. Place your left foot on the mat at a 45 degree angle and keep a 90 degree bend in your right leg. Extend your arms at shoulder height toward the front and back of the mat and gaze over your right middle finger. Hold and breathe for 10 counts. Transition through a vinyasa to repeat this cycle starting with a high lunge on the other side.
Come down onto your belly, lying flat on the mat with your forehead on the ground. Extend your arms behind you at your sides and on an inhale, lift your chest, arms, and legs off of the mat, balancing on your hips. Keep your neck long, gazing down at the mat beneath you and hold for 10 breaths, slowly coming down when you are finished.