HOW TO: Add Weights to Your Yoga Routine
Make yoga part of your strength-training routine and boost your running performance. – By Suzee Swkiot for Rodale Wellness
It can help relieve stress, improve your posture, and help you sleep, but yoga is also an excellent part of a runner’s strength-building regimen.
Your flows, breathing, and stretches can be a vital part of helping to build strength, and will keep working long after you’ve finished with savasana.
“As cardio does burn calories while doing a workout, when you incorporate weights into your regimen, you continue to burn even after you’re done,” says Alexis Novak, a Los Angeles-based yoga instructor. “You can really balance both ends of the spectrum — yoga and strength — and you don’t have to make it an explosive workout.”
Still maintaining the calm of yoga, grab a set of weights and get to work on these 5 strength-building yoga moves:
Downward-Facing Dog Jog
Start: Align your body in downward-facing dog, one of the best yoga poses you should do every morning. Attempt to make an upside down “V” shape with your body and keep your feet hips-width distance apart. Make a slight bend in your knees to honor the hamstrings, and leave your tail pressing towards the sky, and palms flat on the mat. Perform for five deep breaths.
Weights: Secure the weight into your hands, and lift the right leg and bend your knee so the heel touches or comes close to touching your glute. Lower down the right leg, and repeat on the left. Continue to breathe and alternate legs.
Make it harder: Option 1 is to stay with this for 30 seconds, slowly lifting and bending each leg. Option 2 is to take a downward facing dog jog, and start to add speed and a slight hop with each switch of the legs. Have fun with it, and get playful. Maintain a steady breath for 30 to 45 seconds. Pause and repeat two more to stimulate energy, and raise your heart rate.
Crescent Lunge with Shoulder Press
Start: Stabilise your body in crescent lunge. Both sets of toes are facing the front of your mat, and feet are two-and-a-half feet apart. Keep a generous bend in your back knee to maintain optimal stability.
Weights: Pick up your dumbbells. Make a “goal post” shape with your arms, holding your elbows at 90-degrees, with palms facing the front of your mat. Inhale as you slowly lower your back knee towards the mat to hover, and simultaneously open the arms. Exhale while straightening the back leg and push the arms above your head. Repeat for 15 breaths and then take a break in downward-facing dog or child’s pose to recover.
Chair Pose with Bicep Curl
Start: Sit the hips back as if you’re in an invisible chair. Heel-toe the feet hips-width distance apart and keep the toes facing forward.
Weights: Lower your elbows inline the rib cage. Flip your palms up towards the sky with the dumbbells in hand. Lower your tail towards the back of the mat (squat) as you lower the dumb bells to pivot around the elbow (bicep curl). Continue to breathe and repeat for 15 breaths.
Warrior II with Lateral Pull
Start: Set your body into a Warrior II pose. Back toes face the long edge of your mat, and the front toes face the front. Your back leg is long and supported, and the front knee maintains a 90-degree bend with the knee stacked on top of the ankle. Tuck your pelvis under your shoulders so your back is flat.
Weights: Open your arms to the side of the body with the dumb bells in hand. Elbows have a slight bend and make a “W” shape with the arms. Straighten out your front leg and pull the elbows tight to the ribs. Bend the front knee and press the weights out to either short edge side of the mat. Continue to breathe and repeat for 10 breaths.
Goddess Pose with Low Row
Start: Turn your heels in, and point your toes out in a squat position. Find a wide stance. Sit low into the hips and engage your quadriceps.
Weights: With dumbbells in hand, lower the arms in front of you with the palms facing the back of the room. Exhale your breath and stand up, straight legs with the hands secured next to the hips, palms face up to the sky. Squat the legs down, and lower the arms in front of you. Repeat for 20 breaths.
The article How to Add Weights to Your Yoga Routine originally appeared on Rodale Wellness.