Maintaining strength in the upper body is a key factor to help you find balance, stability, and improved posture. Upper body strength can help people of all ages and abilities to become more mindful of their body and experience the many benefits of yoga. Here are some great poses to help strengthen your upper body.
Upward Facing Dog
Upward facing dog is one of the best poses to work the upper body. To begin, lay down on your belly, place your palms flat on the floor next to your rib cage, and press your hands away from your body. Engage the lower back, bend your elbows, and press your torso up, allowing your chest to release open. Begin to draw your shoulder blades down your back and press them away from your ears. Take time to breath and linger in this pose for up to 60 seconds.
Plank pose is a great pose to challenge the upper body and core. To begin, start in the high push-up position with your wrists lined up under your shoulders. Spread your fingers wide to create more stability in your hands. Tighten your core, squeeze your glutes, and press your heels away from your body. Lengthen your torso and hold this pose for up to 60 seconds.
Side Plank Pose
Side plank challenges both your upper body and your balance. Starting from plank pose, press through your right hand and roll to your outer right edge, stacking your left foot on top of your right foot and raising your left arm up towards the sky. Make sure your core is strong and your hips and groin are facing the ground. Hold this pose for up to 60 seconds before rolling back to plank and switching sides.
Four-Limbed Staff Pose
Four-Limbed Staff pose is a pose that strengthens the arms, chest, and back. To begin, press both hands into the ground and straighten your arms. Engage your core, point your toes, and bring your torso and legs into one straight line. Keep your shoulders away from your ears and press your body away from the ground with your arms. Take time to breathe and lift up your chest for a heart-opening effect.
Dolphin Pose is similar to Downward Facing Dog in the way it strengthens the upper body. To begin this pose, start in a tabletop position and tuck your toes underneath. Lift your hips into the air, make sure your elbows are lined up underneath your shoulders, and press your hands into the floor to lengthen your spine. When you’re in the pose, make sure you’re engaging your core and pressing your heels away from your body.
By integrating these poses into your practice, you can strengthen your upper body and even out any asymmetry that may exist in the body. This strength can help create balance in mobility and flexibility and may even help to prevent injuries related to the upper body. Finding strength through the poses can be a powerful reminder that your body is capable of so many amazing things.