It’s no secret that the yoga practice is a body worker.
Actually, I’m confident that over 50% of yogis either started practicing and/or still practice for a physical benefit.
People are drawn to yoga for the physical benefit, the ability to strengthen the body, the overall toning effect, and because truthfully, who doesn’t enjoy a tighter, firmer, more confident self?!
Yoga does the body good – like really good!
Before I met yoga, I had a muscular build from years of physical activity, but lacked the overall knowledge of how to use it. I didn’t understand when to engage, how to recruit the breath, when to soften, when to go deeper, and most importantly – how to stay present and relaxed through all of it.
The physical byproduct of a dedicated yoga practice will be a toned, strong, confident, capable person – aka a badass, beautiful you!
Please remember – yoga has no rules, so take what you love from this, weave it into your personal practice or teaching, leave what you don’t love, and create whatever inspires you.
Below are 10 yoga poses to help strengthen and tone your body, mind, and soul. I quickly touch on each one in a video below + how to incorporate these into your practice.
For extra clarity and because who doesn’t love a pic tutorial, below are the strengthening postures featured in the video in the same order with the recommended reps, and a few extra tips to get you started.
- Modify, modify, and modify some more – don’t ever be afraid to soften in your practice. Use this tutorial here if you’re unsure of how to modify.
When working on strengthening and toning, the breath is key! Stay focused on your inhalations and exhalations and do your best to time and coordinate it properly!
1. Sunbird + Elbow to Knee Connection
Do 5 reps on each side, focusing on the inhale to open the front side body, and the exhale to contract and round the back side body.
2. Baby Chaturanga
Do 5 reps on each side following the sunbird sequence. Remember – hug elbows into the side body, keep the lifted leg active, and use the breath to lift and lower.
3. Plank Series
Do 10 – 20 toe taps by simply stepping the foot outside the mat and bringing it back to the middle. Focus on keeping your hips level and steady – move them as little as possible.
Elbow to Knee Taps
Do 5 – 10 on each side, keep the hips low, the core engaged, and the breath steady!
Do 5 reps on each side, recruit the entire body to help make the sequence stronger and easier, and don’t forget to smile – you’re killing it!
4. Warrior 2 – Lift & Lower
Do 5 reps on each side. Use the inhale breath to rise up and bring the gaze towards the fingertips, and the exhale breath to melt back into your strong warrior, gaze goes towards the front middle finger.
5. Utkatasana – Lift & Lower
Do 5 rounds. Use the inhale breath to rise up and lengthen, and the exhale breath to lower down, taking the fingertips back and the crown of the head forward. Remember – the low belly hugs in and up throughout the entire sequence.
6. Dhigasana (Warrior 3 with bent leg) – Lift & Lower
Do 5 rounds on each side. Use the exhale to lower down, and the inhale to rise back up. Remember – this is small movement – it doesn’t need to be an exaggerated dip because we want to protect the standing leg and knee. Keep the lifted leg and foot active and strong with toes pointing straight down towards the mat.
7. Standing Split + Kundalini Descent
Do 5 rounds on each side. Use the inhale breath to find standing splits and the exhale to coil down into the “flamingo” stance. Remember – if your hamstrings are tight, bend the standing leg in standing splits – take care of yourself!
8. Side Plank Sequence
Do one round on each side. Remember – yoga is a journey, so do what you can, and grow into the sequence as you progress. You are welcome to bring one knee down, hold side plank for 10 breaths, or do the full sequence.
Hold each pose for 2 – 5 breaths if doing the entire sequence.
9. Navasana – Lift & Lower
Do 5 rounds. Inhale to lift into high boat pose and exhale to lower down into canoe. Remember – the knees can always be bent and you’re welcome to bring the hands behind the thighs for more support.
10. Navasana + Reverse Tabletop
Do 5 rounds. Inhale to lift into high boat pose, exhale to plant the feet and hands, inhale to lift up into reverse tabletop, exhale to come down, and inhale back into high boat pose.
Simple as that!
What do you think yoga babes? Are you diggin these short & sweet, get to the point, make the body look good sequences?
I hope so!
If you’re new to yoga and just not feeling it, here’s my recommendation:
Let yoga do you. Let it overtake you. Let it seep into each pore of your being. Become enamored with the practice. Let yourself fall in love. Show up for the practice every day, and be there wholly (not just kinda sorta). Pretend that every yoga practice is a first date – with yourself – which is the most important date ever (in my opinion)!
And if you’re an experienced yogi, re-introduce yourself to the practice, continue falling in love or fall back in love, find more inspiration, let the practice sink deeper, harder, and further.
Let’s Talk! How do you tone & strengthen within your yoga practice? Do you practice other forms of movement in addition to your yoga practice? Did you start practicing yoga for the physical benefits? Have you seen an improvement physically, mentally, and spiritually?
As always – questions, comments, suggestions, feedback, or general yoga love – please leave it down below.
Until next time – xoxo!