Research into the benefits of yoga, shows the practice can make you stronger.
In fact one study demonstrated how just 21 days of stretching could make significant improvements.
So if you’re hitting the mat in the hope of building a strong body, then take a look below at 10 of the best yoga poses for strength:
1. Three-Legged Dog Pose (Eka Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Yoga is the perfect practice for building a better core, and three-legged dog might just be the ideal asana.
The positioning means that you’re not only building power through your abdominals but you’re also on your way to stronger arms.
Three-legged dog is thought to be great for toning, especially your hips and thighs so it would make a wonderful addition to your regular yoga strength training.
Despite being a challenging posture, yogis believe it’s a great asana for your mental health.
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2. Warrior III (Virabhadrasana III)
There are many different strengthening yoga sequences that allow you to get the most from the this asana.
This is one seriously powerful movement that enables you to build muscle throughout your whole body, thanks to the backward and forward folding motion.
Experts recommend staying ‘mentally light’, not worrying too much about your shape, instead keeping your attention on your breath.
Warrior III can also help with your balance and posture.
3. Revolved Half Moon (Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana)
Get tougher legs with regular practice of the revolved half moon.
See improvements in your lower body and enjoy a toning effect in your midsection.
It’s also a great mood booster, so you can reap the rewards of both a stronger body and a stronger mind.
Watch the vide below for how to perform it most effectively:
4. Boat Pose (Navasana)
It’s time to set sail with this abs building movement!
AcroYoga instructor Daniel Scott explains that not only is it good for your core, but it can also improve your digestion.
Research conducted in Hong Kong in 2015 looked at how Hatha yoga could build strength in adults.
Navasana was one strengthening asana used in the project.
The outcome of the research was positive, with high adherence and attendance rates from everyone involved.
Benefits can be seen in the sturdiness of your lower back too making it ideal if you’re looking for back pain asanas.
5. Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
We know bridge can be a good yoga stretch for flexibility, but it’s also powerful when you’re practicing for strength.
Personal trainer Pam Moore actually describes it as one of the ‘best yoga poses for your health’.
Gary Soffer, M.D., an integrative medicine specialist at Yale Medicine explains its power:
This pose simultaneously strengthens your core and your lower back muscles…
The stronger your core, the less work your back needs to do.
Beginners might initially struggle with setu bandha sarvangasana.
However with regular practice you’ll soon see your power begin to accelerate and your back is sure to thank you!
6. Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
This simple position might look like a basic yoga pose, however it offers a world of advantages if you’re trying to get a sturdier body.
Regular practice can build strength throughout your legs, from your ankles to your thighs.
Travis Eliot in his book A Journey into Yin Yoga encourages those practicing to take each stage slowly to allow you to feel the full rewards.
Learn how to get the most from this exercise by watching the instructional video below:
7. Crow Pose (Kakasana)
This is the stance you need if you’re looking for an upper body strength building sequence.
As a balancing asana it isn’t easy but when mastered can strengthen your shoulders, arms and wrists.
Influential yogi Jason Crandell suggests practicing boat or plank more frequently to create the power you need to get this asana just right!
8. Star Plank
If you want to build muscle without lifting weights, then it’s time to try a star plank!
Learn how to do the asana properly and you’ll feel how deep the stretch can be.
Star plank gets to work on your obliques delivering strength throughout your entire core, as well as in your arms and shoulders.
9. Eight-Angle Pose (Astavakrasana)
Eight-Angle is a tough one to perfect, and requires a serious amount of balance.
When you can practice it like a pro you can enjoy improvements in your midsection as well as stronger arms and abdominal muscles.
Just looking at the form you might wonder where you’re going to start, however if you take it step by step there’s no reason you can’t practice like a pro.
Watch below how to master the eight-angle:
10. Revolved Side Angle Pose (Parivrtta Parsvakonasana)
Revolved side angle is another challenging asana, so perfect for experienced yogis that really want to work on building their strength further.
Greater flexibility in the spine is one of the biggest rewards. It’s thought that the twist through the abdominal muscles delivers a deep stretch.
Plus as you enter the posture through a lunge it helps to elongate and stretch the spine.
Want to be a yoga powerhouse? It’s time to get started!
But before you do, you need a great night’s rest.
Try our yoga poses for better sleep, to help you nod off faster and wake up fresher.
- Everyday Yoga (2015). How to Do Three-Legged Downward Dog in Yoga [Online]. Available from: https://www.everydayyoga.com/blogs/guides/how-to-do-three-legged-downward-dog-in-yoga [Accessed 4 July 2023]. ↩
- Savage, J. (2023). Beginner tips for Warrior 3 pose [Online]. Ekhart Yoga. Available from: https://www.ekhartyoga.com/articles/practice/beginner-tips-for-warrior-3-pose [Accessed 4 July 2023]. ↩
- Yoga Journal (2021). Warrior 3 Pose [Online]. Available from: https://www.yogajournal.com/poses/warrior-iii-pose [Accessed 4 July 2023]. ↩
- Scott, D. (2014). Yoga Pose 101: Navasana (Boat Pose) [Online]. DoYou. Available from: https://www.doyou.com/yoga-pose-101-navasana-boat-pose/ [Accessed 4 July 2023]. ↩
- Lau, C., Yu, R. and Woo, J. (2015). Effects of a 12-Week Hatha Yoga Intervention on Cardiorespiratory Endurance, Muscular Strength and Endurance, and Flexibility in Hong Kong Chinese Adults: A Controlled Clinical Trial [Online]. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4475706/ [Accessed 4 July 2023]. ↩
- Moore, P. (2023). 9 Best Yoga Poses For Beginners [Online]. Forbes. Available from: https://www.forbes.com/health/body/best-yoga-poses-for-your-health/ [Accessed 4 July 2023]. ↩
- Crandell, J. (2023). Yoga Pose Notebook: Lean In to Bakasana [Online]. Jason Crandell Yoga Method. Available from: https://jasonyoga.com/2015/10/08/pose-notebook-bakasana/ [Accessed 4 July 2023]. ↩
- Yogapedia (2018). Revolved Side Angle Pose [Online]. Available from: https://www.yogapedia.com/definition/6923/revolved-side-angle-pose [Accessed 4 July 2023]. ↩