With summer fast approaching, many of us are working towards that ‘beach ready body’. If you’re not interested in hitting the gym, toning the arms can seem like a difficult task. However, it doesn’t have to be. With a range of yoga exercises, the arms can be toned with ease. Better still, the asanas can be fitted around your day-to-day life!
Many women prefer to use yoga to tone their arms, rather than weight-lifting. Typically, lifting weights contracts and shortens the muscles which result in a bulky look. Yoga, on the other hand, tones muscles while maintaining their length. This creates sleek, defined arms that look great in every summer outfit. In this article, we explore the best poses to use when toning your arms with yoga. Before practising the poses below, it’s important to pick up some comfortable yoga clothes. As the weather is getting warmer, a tank top and a pair of yoga shorts will be ideal.
One of the best exercises to tone the upper arms is Plank Pose. To practice the asana, begin by lying flat on your stomach. Place your hands directly beneath your shoulders and tuck your toes under. Keeping your body parallel to the ground, use your arms to lift yourself off the mat. To maintain the pose, keep your abdominal muscles engaged and your spine lengthened. You are in Plank Pose. Hold the pose for as long as it feels comfortable. When you first start, you may only be able to hold the posture for 30 seconds; however, with regular practice, you will soon see results.
Chaturanga Pose can be practised straight after Plank Pose. From Plank Pose, move your body forward so your shoulders are aligned with your fingers. As you exhale, gently bend your elbows. As you inhale, gently straighten them. You are in Chaturanga Pose. Repeat the sequence 5 times before lowering yourself back down to the mat.
The next pose in the sequence is Salabhasana Pose. To practice the asana, start by lying flat on your stom-ach. Keeping the tops of your feet on the mat, move your feet apart until they are aligned with your hips. Your arms should rest by the sides of your body with your palms touching the mat. Next, take a deep breath in and lift your chest away from the mat. Hold the position for 5 seconds before lowering yourself back down. You are practising Salabhasana Pose. Repeat this process 5 times whilst breathing deeply.
Cobra Pose is another great asana for toning the arms. To practice the posture, start by lying flat on your stomach. Keep your legs stretched out behind you with the tops of your feet touching the mat. Next, place your hands directly under your shoulders. Slowly bring your elbows back into your body whilst pressing the tops of your feet into the mat. Hold this position for seconds. Next, straighten both your arms to lift your chest off the ground. Finally, press your thighs into the ground and engage your buttocks. You are in Cobra Pose. Hold the asana for 30 seconds before releasing the stretch and lowering yourself back down to the mat.
Ideal for those looking to strengthen their arms, Dolphin Pose engages all the main muscles. To practice the asana, start on all fours. Ensure that your knees are aligned with your hips and hands are directly below your shoulders. Next, bring your forearms down to rest on the mat and touch your palms together. Curl your toes under and slowly lift your knees away from the floor. Begin to lengthen your spine and draw your bottom towards the ceiling. Your body should now form an upside-down ‘V’ shape. While experienced practitioners will be able to straighten their legs fully, beginners may find it easier to keep their knees bent. Finally, press your forearms into the mat and draw your shoulder blades back. You are now in Dolphin Pose. Hold the posture for 30 seconds before lowering yourself back down to the floor.
Toning the arms and abdominal muscles, Firefly Pose is the ideal ‘bikini body’ posture. To practice the asana, begin in a squatting position with your feet hip-distance apart. Next, hinge at the waist and move your torso between your legs. Keeping the upper body low, straighten your legs until you can lift your pelvis to knee height. Next, move your left shoulder and upper arm underneath the back of your left thigh. When you have done so, your arm should rest just above your knee. Slowly place your left hand next to the outside edge of your foot before repeating this process on the other side. Press your hands firmly into the mat as you tilt your weight off your feet and onto your hands. Keeping your core engaged, lift your feet off the ground. Next, inhale and straighten your legs out to the sides. Your legs should now be parallel to the ground. Spread your toes apart and pull them back toward your body. The outer edges of your feet should remain angled back, while the inner edges should be angled forward. Finally, widen your shoulder blades and straighten your arms. You are in Firefly Pose. Hold the asana for 30 seconds whilst breathing deeply.
Whether you’re hoping to look great in a vest top or you’re more interested in improving your strength, practice the asanas above to tone your arms. In the summer months, many yogis enjoy practising outside. If you choose to do this, remember to wear a yoga cap and some good-quality suncream to protect your skin.