Arm Strengtheners

There's a story that Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, the father of Ashtanga Yoga, once said: "Yoga changing. Now some women very strong. Correct asana performing possible. Before, not possible. Now possible. All women doing all asanas o.k." [] I think a lot of that change is in arm strength.

Men, anatomically, tend to have stronger upper bodies. It can be frustrating to work on a pose for months, just to see a dude, on his first try, muscle his way through. Given, the gift is in the journey, but it's also good for the ladies to work on upper body strength and develop their bodies (along with their practice) more evenly.

Arm Strengthener

If you feel like your arms are giving out, and not allowing you to maintain the integrity of the poses, come into a restorative pose. Trying to work around over-tired arms can lead to injuries, because who knows what will end up compensating. Often the first indicator that we are practicing at a more physically challenging level than we are prepared for is that the breath begins to quicken and become erratic. Again, if this is the case, take a break from the sequence. It will still be there for you to come back to.

  1. Vajrasasana (Diamond Pose)
  2. Begin Ujaayi (Ocean Sounding) and Dirgha (Three Part) breath 
  3. Come onto stomach
  4. Taking 10 counts, come to Chaturanga Dandasana (Plank Pose)
  5. Exhale, take 8 counts to lower back to the stomach
  6. Inhale, take 8 counts to ride back to Chaturanga Dandasana
  7. Kapalabhati pranayama (Breath of Fire)
  8. Exhale, take 8 counts to lower to floor
  9. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
  10. Pedal heels, bend and straigten legs
  11. Take one leg up into Three-legged Dog
  12. Bring the foot of the raised leg towards the shoulder in a straight line (you will need to take edge of foot parallel to ceiling)
  13. Move between steps 11 and 12
  14. Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I Pose)
  15. Bend back knee towards ground, letting it hover right over floor, and return to straighten. Move between the two locations.
  16. Yajnasana (Cross Pose)
  17. Chaturanga Dandasana
  18. Repeat steps 3-17, other side
  19. Adho Mukha Svanasana
  20. Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)
  21. Move between steps 19 and 20, trying to let the head (as opposed to the chest) lead between 19 and 20; it may feel like you are slithering like a snake
  22. Repeat steps 3-7
  23. Vasistasana (Side Plank Pose). Repeat other side
  24. Garbasana (Child's Pose)
  25. Parvatasana (Outstretched Mountain Pose)
  26. Eka Pada Dhanurasana (One Legged Bow Pose). Repeat other side
  27. Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)
  28. Supta Padangustasana (Reclined Big Toe Pose)
  29. Supta Trivikramasana (Reclined Vishnu Pose)
  30. Urdhva Mukha Paschimottanasana (Upward Facing Fold Pose)
  31. Repeat steps 28-30 other side
  32. Savasana

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