Whenever we think about fitness and strength training, yoga may not be the first thing that comes into our mind. Pulling weights is an effective way to gain bulk, but total-body strength is much more than having six-packs abs. Yoga uses isometric and eccentric contractions to fortify muscles as it stretches and create functional strength simultaneously that assists us in everyday activities like walking, bending and ideally standing. Yoga is dependent on your own body as a ‘weight’ and even targets small muscles that are overlooked in traditional forms of weight training.
To maximize effectiveness, the right equipment is needed. These are relatively simple accessories such as mats, gloves and knee pads for yoga. This ensures a worthwhile experience. Nevertheless, here are some ways, or more specifically poses in which you can increase body fitness with yoga.
- Chair Pose
The chair pose develops powerful strength in legs due to the contraction of hip flexors, adductors and quadriceps. It also fortifies the trunk due to the engagement in front and back body.
Begin by standing with feet together. Inhale air, and sit deeply back as if sitting on a chair and raise your arms towards the sky. As your weight shifts from the toes, feel your shin moving back.
- Boat Pose
The boat pose focuses primarily on six-pack muscles while fortifying hip flexors and quadriceps.
Begin with a seated position. Stretch your spine and lift through the sternum. Bend your knees, lift the feet off the floor and straighten the legs in front of you. Hold your breath for a short period of time and repeat the process.
- Crescent Lunge
This exercise is supposed to strengthen your lower limbs and engages with your erector spinal muscles along the back. It also helps to stretch hip flexors of the back leg while the front leg is in contraction.
To begin with this exercise, put your feet together and take a big step back into a lunge. Make sure your knees align over your ankle and your front foot tracks straight ahead. After raising your arms overhead, position your hips forward. Hold for around 5 breaths.
- Forearm Plank
This is a full-body exercise that works entirely on the core group. It also engages the chest, thighs, calves, and glutes.
Come down onto your forearms from a tabletop position. Locate your hands shoulder-width apart aligning the elbows straight with wrists. Step one foot back at a time to Plank.
Push down through your forearms and draw your front ribs in. Do not collapse your hips with your lower back. Stretch your tailbone towards your heels. To maximize contraction, imagine trying to draw your toes toward your elbows and elbows back towards the toe.
These were some poses to ensure a healthy and fit body, however, this is not an exhaustive list. Yoga is an expansive practice which entails many exercises, each serving a different and useful purpose. Engage in yoga to get the best out of your body.