Yoga Poses for Strength: 10 Asanas for a Stronger, More Powerful You

Geoffrey Lions
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Three-Legged Dog Pose (Eka Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana)

This position stretches your hip flexors, while also strengthening your wrist and knee.

Begin standing in Tadasana with your feet hip-distance apart. Bend your knees, and fold your left leg into your chest. Then place your left foot on your right thigh, about one to two inches away from the groin. Now bend your right knee 90 degrees, and then fold the right foot onto the outside of your left knee. Press your palms or fingertips into the earth, and breathe deeply to encourage the release and extension of your hamstrings. Hold this position for at least three breaths.

When you feel ready for more, straighten your right leg so that you are standing in Dwitriyasana (standing on one foot). Fold your other foot back onto your right thigh, and then straighten out your knee. Extend your arms out to the side of your body, and breathe deeply. Hold this position for a minimum of three breaths.

Warrior III (Virabhadrasana III)

The Warrior III Pose, or Virabhadrasana III, is one of the best poses you can do for your lower body, especially your glutes and quads. In a Warrior III pose, when you place your pelvis forward and your shoulders back, you are lengthening and strengthening all of the muscles in the front of your thighs.

To extend your body in this pose, take your hands to the floor and spread your fingers wide. This will give you balance and remind you to engage your lower body for the pose.

Also, try to keep space between your shoulders and ears so that you don’t slump. And take note of the arch in your back so that you can maintain the strength and flexibility in your spine.

Benefits: Strength and flexibility in the quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings and hips.

Revolved Half Moon Pose (Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana)

To reach the move, the crucial thing is to give yourself enough room to keep your balance, while you are pivoting. Basically, you’ll flip yourself halfway around the center of your torso.

This is a pose that’s advance, both physically and mentally. It can result in injury if the practitioner is too close to the pivot. It’s a common injury spot for those who don’t know the checklist of considerations. Start practicing this posture in a safe area, and each day, prepare you for the move “ until it’s time to try it in the middle of your yoga studio of choice.

To do this, you will try the move by standing upright. Then, you’ll step one of your feet forward between your hands. From here, you’ll take the other leg back. Make sure that this leg is placed at a 90-degree angle from the forward leg.

As you’re standing, you’ll need to adjust yourself so that when you look down, you look forward (it will feel like you’ve lifted your shins up straighter). Next, start to rotate around yourself. Make sure, that you look towards the front of your mat (to make sure that you don’t walk yourself off of it).

Boat Pose (Navasana)

If you’re looking for a pose that’s going to boost your overall strength, the Boat Pose is a smart choice. It’s a challenging pose that activates your core in a big way and strengthens your quadriceps by requiring you to straighten your body in a lunge position.

This is a tough pose to do for beginners, so make sure you build your strength up with other poses, such as the Half-Fish Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana), before you try it.

The Boat Pose strengthens the muscles in your back, abdomen and thighs, and requires you to focus on long, deep breathing.

How to Do the Boat Pose (Navasana):

Start seated in your chair or on the floor with your legs extended in front of you.

Sit upright, with your shoulders away from your ears and your back straight.

Bend your knees to a comfortable position with your feet flat on the floor.

Lean back slightly and cross your arms, placing the palms of your hands on the floor behind your buttocks.

Slowly lower your bum to the floor with your knees bent.

Keep your arms crossed, hands flat and toes positioned toward the ceiling.

You can also do the Boat Pose with your toes on the floor.

Hold the position for a few breaths.

Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

This is the pose to do if you want to improve the strength of your arms and shoulders.

Place a Yoga block about a foot away from the wall.

Stand, and then bend your knees so you are kneeling on the floor.

Then, lie down on your back, placing the block to the outside of you.

Gently bring your arms on either side of you, and then use your hands to push your hips up and forward as far as you can without straining.

Hold this pose for several breaths.

If you are able to, extend the heels of the feet wider on the floor, or even bring them closer to your hips.

The closer your feet are to your hips, the harder the pose will be to hold.

Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

Performing yoga poses in a room full of strangers may cause you to feel some initial self-consciousness, but the feeling goes away pretty quickly. The positive benefits that you’ll get from even just ten minutes in the classroom make it worth it, and your shyness will go away when you start to feel good about yourself and what you’re doing.

The number one power pose for yoga, and one of the most important yoga poses for strength, is called Mountain Pose, or Tadasana. Known formally as the “position of balance”, Tadasana is a great way to get your blood pumping and to settle into the class.

In Tadasana, stand with your feet together, your toes touching. Bend your knees a bit and tuck your pelvis forward, then close your eyes and try to feel your breath. This is the yoga pose where you will hold your breath for multiple breaths to allow your heart rate to slow, and it’s very important for your body to be still.

Imagine that there is a string being pulled upwards from the top of your head, which gently pulls your spine into alignment. Breathe in and breathe out and try to relax every muscle in your body.

Crow Pose (Kakasana)

Known more formally as the crow and crane pose, kakasana is a yoga asana (posture) that will fire up your thighs, hips, ankles and calves. If you’re new to crow pose, start with a wall.

Stand with your back against the wall and bring your weight into your feet, with your knees slightly bent.

Put your hands on the wall just above shoulder height.

Slide your hips back as far as they can go, and slowly walk out on the tips of your toes to lower yourself down.

When you’re positioned on the tips of your toes, lean forward.

If you’re strong enough, try to bring your chest, arms, and forehead to touch the ground.

Liewood Raichur recommends doing the crow pose after any active asana for a deep hip flexor stretch or simply as a quick hip flexor stretch you can do throughout the day.

Star Plank

The Star Plank is a variation of the classic Plank pose. It builds stronger arms and shoulders. If you already have trouble holding the Plank for a long time, then the Star Plank will make your plank 10 times harder.

Targets the triceps, shoulders and upper back.

Eight-Angle Pose (Astavakrasana)

Astavakrasana translates to “eight angled pose,” though it looks more like four or eight legs bending into impossible angles to get into this pose. The pose is very flexible and difficult, so that is why it is called Astavakrasanasana.

The emphasis is on the eight directions. The body is divided into eight sections, four forward and four backward, and the legs are lifted in the poses to strengthen them in these four directions.

It can be a fun twist on the Warrior series poses also. The focus point of the pose is the joining of the four pairs of legs and arms when they are lifted in the shape of a v. The pose is perfect for increasing flexibility and a great way to improve balance.

The pose takes a lot of strength, concentration, balance and breathing. It is not a good pose for beginners and should be attempted only with a great sense of dedication and discipline. Many people find this a very difficult pose. To be successful, a tricky entry into this pose is necessary. The photo shows the “head-down-legs-up” posture of the pose. This is the difficult entrance into this pose.

Revolved Side Angle Pose (Parivrtta Parsvakonasana)

This downward facing side angle pose stretches the spine, lengthens the lateral neck muscles, and releases the torso and groin. It activates the obliques and enhances core strength.

Stand sideways to the long end of your mat. Step the feet about three feet apart with the feet parallel to each other. Engage the core. Bend your right knee and place the right foot on the mat.

Pressing the right foot firmly into the mat, extend the torso to the right. Flex the left foot to bring the foot about two inches from the right foot. Maintaining the side-bend, bring the left arm straight up with the hand facing forward.

Rotate the left arm and hand behind the back. Clasp the left hand onto the upper right inner thigh. Extend the torso between the two extended arms. Rotate the shoulders toward the back and the hips toward the front.

Lean forward while continuing to stretch the front torso and the arms behind you. Shift your gaze to the right. Stay in the pose for 15 to 30 seconds.

Reverse the legs and repeat for the same length of time.