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Feel Stronger and Sexier With This Arm-Sculpting Yoga Sequence

Feel Stronger and Sexier With This Arm-Sculpting Yoga Sequence

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    1. Downward Facing Dog

    • Begin on your hands and knees. Your wrists should be underneath your shoulders, and your knees underneath your hips.
    • Inhale as you tuck your toes under your heels. Then exhale and lift your hips, coming into an upside down “V” shape called Downward Facing Dog.
    • Spread your fingers wide and create a straight line between your middle fingers and elbows. Work on straightening your legs and lowering your heels toward the ground. Your heels should be slightly wider than your toes, so the outside edges of your feet are parallel with the outside edges of your mat. Relax your head between your arms, and direct your gaze through your legs or up toward your belly button. Work on holding for five breaths.

    Arching-Three-Legged-Dog

      2. Arching Three-Legged Dog

      This arm-strengthening variation of Three-Legged Dog involves bending the knee of your top leg, increasing the flexibility in your hip flexors, spine, and hamstrings.

      • Begin in Down Dog. Step both feet together so your big toes are touching.
      • Keeping the left heel on the mat, raise your right leg in the air coming into Three-Legged Dog, and then bend the knee. Actively squeeze your right heel in toward your hip, lifting the knee high.
      • Lift your head up and turn to look over your left shoulder, arching the spine. Think about drawing your head and foot toward each other (if your spine is extremely flexible, your foot and head will touch).
      • Hold here for five breaths, keeping the belly still and breathing into the chest.

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      Extended-Tabletop

        3. Extended Tabletop

        Strong and poised like a ballerina, Extended Tabletop will open the front of your body, increase flexibility and strength in your shoulders, and tone your tush.

        • From Arching Three-Legged Dog, slowly lower your right foot to the floor behind you as you simultaneously raise your right arm in the air. You’re essentially rotating your body 180 degrees so your belly is pointing up toward the ceiling. Readjust your feet if you need to so they are parallel and slightly wider than hip-width apart.
        • Press firmly into your feet to lift your hips high, engaging your glutes and hamstrings, and extend your right arm over your face.
        • Hold here for five complete breaths, gazing at your extended hand or up toward the ceiling.

        Yoga-Poses-Tone-Arms-Upper-Back

          4. Balancing Star

          This creative cross between Sage and Half Moon will tone both your upper body and core.

          • From Extended Tabletop, lift your right arm and leg into the air, rotating your left toes so they point away from you.
          • Stay here, balancing on your left hand and foot. Try to keep your shoulders, spine, and hips in one straight line, and gaze toward your right hand. Press your left fingertips into the mat to take some pressure out of your wrists.
          • Hold here for five deep breaths, trying to keep your core strong and the pose steady. Then release back to Down Dog.

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          Quarter-Dog

            5. Quarter Dog

            Not only will this easy-on-the-wrists variation of Down Dog intensely stretch the backs of your legs, but it will also work out your arms, shoulders, and upper back.

            • From Down Dog, spread your fingers wide and lower your forearms to the mat. Check to make sure you’re creating a straight line between your elbows and middle fingers.
            • Keep your legs straight and lower your heels toward the ground as far as you can. Your heels should be slightly wider than your toes so the outside edges of your feet are parallel with the outside edges of your mat.
            • Relax your head between your arms, and direct your gaze through your legs or up toward your belly button. Hold for five breaths. Then straighten your arms, coming back to Downward Dog.

            One-Legged-Four-Limbed-Staff

              6. One-Legged Four-Limbed Staff

              Lifting one leg in this Chaturanga variation really targets your triceps and shoulders. It’s an advanced Chaturanga that requires more strength from your arms.

              • From Down Dog, shift weight forward so your shoulders are directly over your wrists, coming into the top of a push-up position.
              • Bend your elbows behind you, brushing your arms against the sides of your body as you lower down. Hold Four-Limbed Staff with your body in one straight line, making sure your elbows are at 90-degree angles.
              • Lift your right leg a few inches off the floor, pointing your toes, and hold for three deep breaths. Release that foot to the floor, and lift your left leg for another three breaths.
              • Release your left foot to the floor, inhale into Upward Facing Dog, and exhale into Downward Facing Dog.

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              Firefly

                7. Firefly

                This arm-balancing pose will tone your arms and increase flexibility in your hamstrings.

                • First, Downward Facing Dog. Jump your feet up so they land behind your hands.
                • Bring your hands back through your legs, and press your palms into your calves, trying to crawl deeper through your legs. Once your arms and shoulders are as far back behind your thighs as you can get them, plant your palms firmly behind your feet, cupping your heels with your thumb and index finger.
                • Bend your knees and squat down, resting the backs of your legs as close to your shoulders as you can.
                • Make sure your palms and fingers are spread wide as you shift weight into them. Lift your feet off the floor, either one at a time or both together, straightening your legs. Never place the weight on your wrist.
                • Hold for five breaths and then release your feet to the floor, coming into a Wide Squat.

                Side-Crow

                  8. Side Crow

                  This variation of Crow involves a little spinal twist and is just the pose to work your upper body. It’s a perfect posture for people who want to use just their own weight to tone up their muscle.

                  • From a Wide Squat, walk your feet together. Twist your torso to the right, and place both hands on the floor so they’re parallel with your thighs and shoulder-width apart.
                  • Place your outer right hip onto your right elbow and your outer right knee onto your left elbow.
                  • Shift weight into your palms, and lift your feet off the floor, coming into Side Crow. Hold here for five breaths, and then release your feet to the floor, coming back to a low squat position.
                  • Rotate your torso to the left, and repeat this pose on the other side. After five breaths, come back to a low squat.

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                  Headstand-B

                    9. Headstand B

                    This headstand variation is a killer move for your upper body, and for an added bonus, it’ll also tone your core.

                    • From a squat position, release your knees to the floor. Lower your elbows to the floor, and interlace your fingers, bringing your lowest pinky in front of the other pinky so both pinkies are on the floor, forming a semicircle with your hands.
                    • Place the back of your head against your palms and the top of your head on the mat. Once your head and forearms feel stable, straighten both legs and walk your feet toward your face as far as you can.
                    • Shift your hips over your shoulders, and keep your elbows planted firmly on the mat. Lift your right leg straight up toward the sky and then your left, coming into Bound Headstand (also called Headstand A).
                    • Hold this position for five deep breaths. To move into Headstand B, slowly lower both legs down halfway so that your legs are parallel with the floor, staying here.
                    • After five breaths, lower your feet all the way to the ground, resting in Child’s Pose.
                    • This is an advanced post, know your limit and listen to your body.

                    Child-Pose

                      10. Child’s Pose

                      • Kneel on your mat with your knees hips-width distance apart, and your big toes touching behind you. Take a deep breath in and, as you exhale, lie your torso over your thighs. Try to lengthen your neck and spine by drawing your ribs away from your tailbone and the crown of your head away from your shoulders.
                      • Rest your arms beside your legs, with palms facing up, or try extending your arms out in front of you.
                      • Stay here for five breaths.

                      yoga a7
                        Reference: popsugar.com

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                        Last Updated on January 5, 2021

                        15 Fitness Goals That Will Help You Live a Healthier Life This Year

                        15 Fitness Goals That Will Help You Live a Healthier Life This Year

                        Starting a journey with fitness goals is never easy, and you must remember this is not a crash diet; it is a lifestyle. Don’t panic and think you have to do it all at once, as this will most likely overwhelm you. You may also find yourself giving up because crash diets are not sustainable.

                        The best approach is to make simple changes to your daily habits, and over time, you will notice all your bad habits have turned into good ones.

                        Accordingly to a study by Phillippa Lally, a health psychology researcher at University College London, on average, it takes more than 2 months before a new behavior becomes automatic — 66 days to be exact.[1] And how long it takes a new habit to form can vary widely depending on the behavior, the person, and the circumstances.

                        Here are 15 fitness goals to help you on your journey:

                        1. Drink More Water

                        W.H. Auden said it best when he said,

                        “Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.”

                        With any diet, the most important thing to remember is to stay hydrated. Drinking water will support your body with digestion, transporting nutrients to your bones and muscles, and even improving cognitive function.

                        Ideally, you want to drink about half your body weight in ounces per day, i.e. if you weight 150 pounds, you should drink 75 ounces of water a day.

                        2. Add Some Lemon and Apple Cider Vinegar to Your Water

                        It is recommended we sleep for about 8 hours a day, but this means we spend about 8 hours per day dehydrated. Therefore, hydrating your body first thing in the morning is absolutely necessary.

                        The best way to achieve hydration is by starting your day with a glass or even two of water. For that extra boost, add lemon juice and ½ teaspoons of apple cider vinegar. The lemon and apple cider vinegar will help your body with detoxifying, cleansing, and digestion.

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                        3. Stop Drinking Your Calories

                        Yes, keeping hydrated is important, but try to avoid high-calorie drinks, such as soft drinks, specialty coffee, and juices as they are full of fast-acting sugar.

                        Really push yourself to stop drinking such drinks, and before you know it, you will notice the benefits.

                        4. Start Stretching More Often

                        The benefits are vast and the repercussions of failing to stretch can be dramatic.

                        Do yourself a favor and always stretch before and after a workout. This will promote a healthy cool down, improve flexibility, and reduce next day aches. Failure to stretch can lead to injures and muscle damage.

                        Here’re some simple stretching exercises to get you started: 15 Static Stretching Exercises to Totally Enhance Your Workout Routine

                        5. Add in Some High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

                        You may have heard about HIIT training because it is the big thing right now, and believe me when I say that it works and should absolutely be included in your fitness goals.

                        The benefits include lower body fat, increased stamina, leaner muscles, and fantastic hormonal benefits.

                        HIIT is where you perform an intense exercise for a very short time frame (about 30 seconds), followed by a slower exercise for about 90 seconds.

                        Performing a HIIT routine for 1-3 times a week will lead to great results.

                        6. Focus on Your Breathing When You Work Out

                        For the most part, breathing is second nature, but when exercising, you may find yourself holding your breath, and this can have negative consequences.

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                        It is important to consciously take deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth, as this will fill your lungs with oxygen and give you the necessary energy to continue your workout.

                        7. Build More Lean Muscle

                        We all want to have lean muscles. Not only does it look good, but it also has great health benefits, including:

                        • Improved posture
                        • Reduced body fat
                        • Improved metabolism
                        • Strong bones
                        • Protects and improves joint health
                        • Improved stamina

                        You can build lean muscle by lifting weights or through other specific exercises. Learn more about building muscle in this guide: How Long Does it Take to Build Muscle and Increase Fat Loss?

                        8. Decrease Body Fat

                        This may seem like an obvious one, but it is one of the most important steps to a healthier you. Reducing your body fat has a lot of benefits such as:

                        • Improved joints and tendons
                        • Lowered risk of diabetes
                        • Reduced risk of heart disease
                        • Reduced inflammation
                        • Better performance and endurance
                        • Improved appearance and confidence
                        • Better hormonal profiles in your body

                        Remember, it is not a race to see how quickly you can decrease your body fat. Healthy weight loss is around 1-2 pounds a week for your fitness goals.[2]

                        Crash dieting or pushing yourself too much in the gym can lead to you achieving an unrealistic target, and you may find yourself gaining all the weight you have lost.

                        Think of it as a lifestyle, and take it slow and steady.

                        9. Eat More Greens

                        What you eat is the most important factor in a healthier living plan. It is important to ensure you are getting as many nutrients and vitamins from the food you are eating as possible.

                        Focus on dark, leafy greens, as they will provide you with a wide array of vitamins, minerals, nutrients and antioxidants—all of which you body needs!

                        Don’t forget to avoid processed and manufactured food. They are usually high in fat and have minimal vitamins.

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                        10. Start Eliminating Sugar

                        Another top goal you can start immediately is reducing the amount of sugar you consume. It also won’t cost you anything, and will save you money and improve your health in the long run.

                        There’s no surprise we eat too much sugar, and this should be one of your top fitness goals moving forward. Cutting out liquid calories is a great way to start. If you’re looking for something sweet, turn to fruits or even dark chocolate.

                        Be careful to eliminate sugar from your diet slowly. Cutting it out all at once can cause symptoms of sugar withdrawal, which can drive you back to sugary snacks[3].

                        Common symptoms of sugar withdrawal

                          11. Allow Yourself to Rest and Recover

                          The workout is where you go to break down muscle tissue, and it builds back through proper nutrition, rest, and recovery[4]. It might be tempting to go to the gym for two hours every day as hard as you can to achieve your goals, but that’s not the most effective approach.

                          If you don’t allow for proper rest and recovery, it can set you back a few steps. Your body is more prone to injury and even illness as you can weaken your immune system from all the progressive intensity the body is facing.

                          12. Get More Sleep

                          When you are deprived of sleep, you make it next to impossible to achieve your health and fitness goals. Lack of sleep can increase stress hormones in your body, and over time these can lead to inflammation and chronic diseases.[5]

                          Make sleep a priority to let your body heal and rejuvenate. A good approach is 7 to 8 hours. Also, allow yourself some wind-down time and a pre-bed routine to help get more consistent sleep every night.

                          13. Focus on the Habit, Not the Result

                          It’s easy to get caught up in trying to achieve a certain look or shed time off of your mile, but the more important focus is on the habit that will bring you closer to those fitness goals.

                          Don’t look at the scale, the tape measurer, or the body fat percentage. Focus on the habits that will lead to those achievements.

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                          Don’t compare yourself to where others are; you’re right where you need to be.

                          14. Take Your Fitness Outside

                          This may be hard depending on the weather you experience, but the more you can be outside exposed to fresh air and sunlight, the better.

                          Being stuck in the gym doing cardio while staring at a wall won’t do much for your mental stimulation.

                          Try to challenge your body more by getting outside. Hiking is great and also just running and walking. Give yourself more access to nature and a constantly changing environment. It also beats breathing in that recycled gym air.

                          15. Do at Least One Pull Up

                          This is a great last goal to focus on because it’s a great test of strength and to see how you are progressing with your fitness.

                          If you haven’t been able to do one, you know what a challenge it can be. Having the goal of doing at least one pull up will not only show you how far you’ve progressed, but it is a great way to become dedicated and motivated.

                          The Bottom Line

                          These fitness goals will become more attainable through the year if you’re consistent with your fitness. Set yourself a concrete timeline for when you want to accomplish some or all of these in order to create realistic goals in the short term. In fact, start making one of these goals happen this month!

                          More on Setting Fitness Goals

                          Featured photo credit: Ivan Torres via unsplash.com

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