Yoga for Strength Sequence

Use this intermediate seated pose sequence to build body strength. This is an engaging 40 step sequence of postures to use to challenge the mind and body.
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Contraindication: Recent or chronic injury to the back, knees, hips or unmedicated high blood pressure.

1. Start in Mountain with the palms together

yoga poseA. Have the feet together or 2-3 inches apart, parallel, facing forward.

B. Palms are lightly pressed together with the shoulders down and back and the chest pressing in towards the thumbs.

C. Crown of the head lifts up, chin is parallel to the floor.

2. Inhale and sweep the arms up with palms together

yoga pose A. Stay in Mountain alignment.

B. Look up at the thumbs.

C. Lift out of the waist, reaching up towards the sky.

3. Exhale into Chair Twist to the left

yoga pose A. Keep the palms together as you bend the knees and reach the hips back. Bring the hands to your heart and twist to the left by placing the right elbow on the left knee.

B. Press the elbow into the knee and roll the shoulder back. Look to the side or up over the shoulder.

C. Breathe and hold for 1-4 breaths.

4. Inhale into Utkatasana

yoga pose A. Bend the knees and press the hips back.

B. Inhale and sweep the arms out and up with the palms together.

C. Arch the spine, press the chest forward and look up at the thumbs.

C. The knees should track directly over the feet, not splaying in or out.

5. Exhale into Forward Fold

yoga postureA. Press the palms flat to the floor, if necessary bend the knees slightly. If you are flexible enough, bring the fingertips in line with the toes.

B. Press the forehead in towards the legs.

6. Inhale and lift into Upward Forward Fold

yoga posture A. Lift half way up with the arms, legs and back straight.

B. The fingertips are touching the floor or you can place the palms on the shins or knees.

C. Lift the chest and look up as high as comfortable.

7. Exhale into Forward Fold

yoga postureA. Press the palms flat to the floor, if necessary bend the knees slightly. If you are flexible enough, bring the fingertips in line with the toes.

B. Press the forehead in towards the legs.

8. Inhale and sweep the arms up with palms together

yoga pose A. Stay in Mountain alignment.

B. Look up at the thumbs.

C. Lift out of the waist, reaching up towards the sky.

9. Exhale and bring the palms together in Mountain pose

yoga poseA. Have the feet together or 2-3 inches apart, parallel, facing forward.

B. Palms are lightly pressed together with the shoulders down and back and the chest pressing in towards the thumbs.

C. Crown of the head lifts up, chin is parallel to the floor.

10. Repeat # 2 through #9 on the other side

11. Inhale and sweep the arms up with palms together

yoga pose A. Stay in Mountain alignment.

B. Look up at the thumbs.

C. Lift out of the waist, reaching up towards the sky.

12. Exhale into Forward Fold

yoga postureA. Press the palms flat to the floor, if necessary bend the knees slightly. If you are flexible enough, bring the fingertips in line with the toes.

B. Press the forehead in towards the legs.

13. Inhale and lift into Upward Forward Fold

yoga posture A. Lift half way up with the arms, legs and back straight.

B. The fingertips are touching the floor or you can place the palms on the shins or knees.

C. Lift the chest and look up as high as comfortable.

14. Inhale and step the right foot back into High Lunge

yoga poseA. Make sure the left knee is directly over the ankle.

B. Shoulders are down and back, chest presses forward, crown lifts up and the back leg is straight.

15. Turn the back foot out and inhale into Warrior II

yoga posture A. Turn the left toes slightly in towards center with the foot flat on the floor. Keep the right knee directly over the ankle into a deep lunge. Inhale the arms parallel to the floor.

B. Turn the hips and chest to face the side wall and look at the right middle finger.

C. Breathe and hold for 2-4 breaths.

16. Exhale into Warrior Angle

yoga poseA. Exhale and bring the right elbow to the right knee, inhale the left arm up over the ear with the palm facing the floor. Press down into the left foot and out through the left fingers.

B. Roll the left hip and shoulder back. Keep the right knee over the ankle. Look straight ahead or up at the fingers.

C. Breathe and hold for 2-4 breaths. Inhale back into Warrior II

17. From Warrior II exhale into Reverse Warrior II

yoga poseA. Keep the knee bent in a lunge, inhale the arms parallel to the floor and then exhale the left arm to the right leg and reach the right arm up over the head.

B. Reach the left fingers towards the ankle, keep the hips and chest facing the side wall. Look straight ahead or up at the fingers.

C. Breathe and hold for 2-4 breaths.

18. Inhale the arms up and turn the hips forward into Warrior 1

yoga posture A. Keeping the legs in a lunge, inhale the arms up and turn the hips facing the bent knee. Keep the right knee directly over the ankle, lift the chest and drop the shoulders down.

B. Keep the legs strong and the feet pressing into the floor.

C. Breathe and hold for 2-4 breaths.

19. Lower hands and bend knee into High Lunge

yoga poseA. Bring the hands down to the floor on opposite sides of the foot, bend the front knee and tuck the back toes under into a high lunge. Keep the back leg straight, pressing back through the heel.

B. Press down into the palms, fingertips or fists to lift the crown up and to lengthen the spine. Roll the shoulders down and back and press the chest forward. Press the front knee forward and let the hips sink towards the floor, lightly stretching the insides of the legs.

C. Breathe and hold for 1-3 breaths.

20. Step back into Plank

yoga postureA. The body is one straight line, in a push up position with the palms under the shoulders.

B. Press the heels back, reach the crown of the head forward.

C. Breathe and hold for 1-3 breaths.

21. Exhale down into Caterpillar

yoga postureA. Bend the knees to the floor, and bending the elbows lower the chin and chest to the floor

B. Reach the hips up towards the sky arching the back.

22. Scoop forward into Cobra

yoga pose A. Press the palms flat to the floor directly under the shoulders to lift the crown up. Relax the shoulders down and back to press the chest forward.

B. If the back feels strained, bend the elbows more or come onto the forearms.

C. Breathe and hold for 2-5 breaths.

23. Lower the chest to the floor and inhale into Bow

yoga postureA. Bend the knees, reach back with both hands and hold onto the outsides of the ankles. Kick the feet into the hands to lift the chest and knees off the floor.

B. Keep the knees squeezing in, the hips pressing down and the chin and chest lifting up.

C. Breathe and hold for 2-5 breaths.

24. Exhale lower the palms, tuck the toes and inhale into Downward Facing Dog

yoga poseA. Place the palms under your shoulders, tuck the toes under and lift the hips up and back.

B. Press firmly into the hands and arms to press the hips back. Let the head hang from the neck. Press the heels into the floor. The legs are straight or can be slightly bent to flatten the back.

C. Breathe and hold for 1-3 breaths.

25. Repeat # 14 through #24 on the other side

26. Reach the left hand back into Down Dog Twist

yoga posture A. Hold onto the inside or outside of the ankle and look up at the ceiling.

B. Keep pressing down into the palm, up through the hips and down into the heels.

C. Breathe and hold for 1-4 breaths.

27. Exhale and bend the knees to the floor into Child Pose

yoga pose A. Press the hips to the heels with the tops of the feet flat to the floor. Let the forehead rest on the floor and allow the body to completely relax.

B. Breathe deeply into the belly for 3-6 breaths.

28. Inhale into One Handed Tiger

yoga posture A. Slide the hands forward and lift into Table. Inhale the right leg up and reach back and hold onto the ankle with the left hand. Stare at one point for balance.

B. Gently kick the foot into the hand to lift the leg higher.

C. Breathe and hold for 2-4 breaths.

29. Exhale the hand and leg down and inhale into Downward Facing Dog

yoga pose A. Tuck the toes under, bend the elbows and lift the hips up and back.

B. Press firmly into the hands and arms to press the hips back. Let the head hang from the neck. Press the heels into the floor. The legs are straight or can be slightly bent to flatten the back.

C. Breathe and hold for 1-3 breaths.

30. Repeat # 26 through #29 on the other side

31. Walk the feet forward and inhale into Crane

yoga postureA. Bend the elbows and place the knees on the arms up towards the armpits. Look forward at a point on the floor.

B. Keep the palms pressing flat as you lean forward and carefully lift one foot at a time off the floor. If possible, lift the knees higher and straighten the arms.

C. Breathe and hold for 1-3 breaths.

32. Lower your hips to the floor and inhale into Boat

yoga postureA. Bring the hands behind you and carefully lower the hips to the floor. Roll the shoulders down and back and lift the legs up.

B. Reach the fingers forward, straighten the legs and lift the sternum.

C. Breathe and hold for 2-4 breaths.

33. Exhale the hands behind you and inhale into Incline Plane

yoga pose A. Bring the hands behind your hips with the fingers pointing back. Press into the palms, inhale and lift the hips up. Press the feet flat towards the floor, look straight ahead or drop the head back.

B. Engage the arms, legs and buttocks to keep the hips and chest lifted high.

C. Breathe and hold for 1-4 breaths.

34. Slowly roll the spine down and pull the knees into Wind Relieving Pose

yoga poseA. Bend the knees into the chest and wrap the arms around them, holding on to the elbows, wrists or fingers.

B. Press the tailbone, shoulders and back of the neck down into the floor as you pull the knees in to feel a stretch in the low back.

C. Breathe and hold for 3-6 breaths.

35. Bend both knees with the feet flat on the floor and inhale into Bridge

yoga pose A. Bring the feet hip width apart with the toes pointed forward, slide the arms alongside the body with the fingers lightly touching the backs of the heels.

B. Inhale and lift the hips and spine up by pressing into the feet and engaging the lower and core body. Press down into the arms and shoulders to help lift the chest up.

C. Breathe and hold for 2-5 breaths.

36. Inhale the left foot up into One Leg Bridge

yoga poseA. Press up through the left heel while the right foot presses down into the floor.

B. Keep the arms and right leg engaged to maintain the lift in the hips and chest.

C. Breathe and hold for 2-3 breaths.

37. Exhale, lower the leg and hips and drop the left knee to the right side of the body into Belly Twist

yoga poseA. With the arms out to the sides in a T position, drop the left knee to the right side of your body. For a deeper stretch, place the right hand on the left knee. Look at the left hand and keep the shoulders flat on the floor. Relax into the posture.

B. Breathe and hold for 3-6 breaths.

38. Repeat # 35 through #37 on the other side

39. Exhale the legs to the floor and lower into Shavasana

yoga poseA. Release the legs straight and slide the arms alongside of the torso. The arms are 6-8 inches from the sides of your body and the palms are facing up.

B. Close the eyes and consciously relax the body from the toes to the crown of the head.

C. Breathe deeply through the nose into the belly and hold for 10-15 minutes.

40. End in Easy Pose

yoga postureA. Bend the knees and slowly roll over to one side. Press up into a seated position.

B. Inhale and press the hips down and reach the crown up to lengthen the spine. Roll the shoulders down and back to open the chest. Relax the face and rest the tongue on the roof of the mouth.

C. Lengthen the inhalation and exhalation by breathing deeply into the belly through the nose. Release any thoughts or distractions and let the mind be focused on the breath.

D. Breathe and hold for 10-30 breaths.

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