Yoga for Upper Body Strength

by Melissa West on July 13, 2016

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Yoga for Upper Body Strength

Yoga-for-upper-body-strength-livestreamToday we are going to be talking about yoga for upper body strength, why it is so important, why yoga is good for strength and muscle and which yoga poses in particular are good for upper body strength.

Why is upper body strength so important?

The more muscle mass you have, the higher your resting metabolic rate. Strength training causes you to continue burning more calories for up to 72 hours after the exercise is over through a phenomenon called after-burn.

Prevents bone loss, reduces risk of bone fractures and osteoporosis

Upper body strength contributes to good posture. We spend so much time hunched over computers, handheld devices, eating, driving. All these things weaken our posture. Upper body strengthening can help to fix these postural imbalances

Reverse the signs of aging. Some people lose up to 40% of their muscle mass by the time they reach their 60s. You donโ€™t want that to be you! That will make you more at risk for injury and illness in general.

Katy Bowman reminds us that upper body strength:

  • Keeps the joints of your shoulders, elbows and wrists stable
  • Keeps your upper thoracic spine upright
  • Our arms are chronically underused in our culture – in nature you would have had to use your arms all day long to dig, forage, pick fruit, hung (make and throw weapons, carry what you caught), build shelter, carry wood, carry water, carry your kids, climb – you used to move your arms through a wildly varying range of motions. Now our arms spend most of their time in front of us at keyboards. This causes weakness in our upper body and also rounded spine as the weight of our arms pulls our spine forward
  • Our arms have imbalances, including right hand and left hand dominance

Yogic Point of View: Strong body means strength in other areas of our life too – strong emotionally, mentally, energetically, and spiritually ๐Ÿ™‚

The stronger you are, the more energy you will have. Strength training can be a great way to help manage chronic conditions from back pain, arthritis, obesity, heart disease and diabetes. It has even been an important part of the puzzle for me in managing migraines.

Today I will be referring to a blog post that I did on Why strength training is important:

Five top reasons why strength is important

I also have a beginner yoga for strength class

Beginner Yoga for Strength : Beginners Yoga Class, Yoga with Melissa 170

And an intermediate yoga for strength class

Both have great upper body strengthening yoga poses in them.

Why is yoga good for strength training?

You are lifting the weight of your own body. In many yoga poses you are supporting your own weight against gravity.

Variety: In a yoga class you are using large and small muscles and moving them in several directions (side bending, back bending, forward bending, twisting) rather than in the controlled environment of weight training.

With yoga you are often doing eccentric contractions, that is your muscle is lengthening as it contracts, giving your muscles sleek, elongated look while at the same time increasing the length of your muscle and range of motion in your joints.

Endurance: With the long holds in yoga classes, you are increasing muscle endurance.

Functional Strength – in yoga we are moving in a way that is similar to our daily life – balancing postures, warriors reaching etc. so it is more functional than controlled environment of weight lifting

Best Yoga Poses for Upper Body Strength

Downward Facing Dog, 3 -legged dog
Strengthens arms, shoulders and back

Plank pose – on hands and forearms
Strengthens arms, wrists, shoulders, abs

Reverse Plank
Strengthens wrists, arms, glutes, hamstrings

Cobra – cobra pushups
Strengthens back, arms, buttocks

Upward Facing Dog
Strengthens back, arms, muscles that control your shoulder blades, strengthens low back muscles
Strengthens shoulders and arms, tones abdominals

Side Plank – on hand and forearm
Strengthens arms, abdomen (obliques) wrists,

Strengthens arms, shoulders, back, tones core

Quadruped Plank
Strengthens arms, shoulders, back, tones core

What was your biggest takeaway today?

I highly recommend the following value added classes from our membership site for your wrists as well.

We have a whole Yoga for Strength Building Series in our Membership Community. Short Classes for each day of the week.

This seven day series is designed to help you build strength in your body each day of the week. Monday you will focus on your core, Tuesday back, Wednesday chest, Thursday biceps, Friday triceps, Saturday shoulders and Sunday glutes. Each day we will create a fusion of yoga inspired poses and the best of strengthening exercises. In each and every class you will be strengthening your lower body while working your upper body.

Weโ€™d love to have you as a member of our community where we share our best value added content:

What topics would you like me to cover in future live streams?

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Thanks for watching.

Namaste, Melissa



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