Doing yoga with weights can help you become lean and strong. (Photo: Tom Schierlitz/Trunk Archive)
A regular yoga practice increases your flexibility, mental focus, stress relief, lung capacity, longevity, endurance, and strength. It also assists in injury prevention by increasing the body’s ability to operate in its full range of motion.
Most strength training involves your muscles contracting as they flex, but in order to create balance in those muscles we need to lengthen them and increase the range of motion in our joints as yoga moves do. The following five Xen Strength Yoga with Weights moves work double duty to create muscles that are strong, long, and lean.
Goddess with Front Raise
Goddess with Front Raise (Photo: Xen Strength Yoga)
Widen your feet with your toes turned out at a diagonal, so that when you bend your knees, they align directly over your ankles. Stack your shoulders over your hips, and roll your thighs out to keep your knees from rolling inward. On an inhale bring your arms up in line with your shoulders, as illustrated in the picture, then exhale and press them back down to the starting position. Do two sets of ten reps.
Reverse Warrior with Elbow to Knee
Reverse Warrior with Elbow to Knee (Photo: Xen Strength Yoga)
Step your feet apart about four feet. Turn your right toes to 12 o’clock and your left toes to 10 o’clock, and bend your right knee so it’s aligned over your right ankle. Stack your shoulders over your hips, as you open your left hip out to the left. Inhale your right arm up as shown in the picture and reach back toward the wall behind you, lengthening through the right side ribs. On an exhale, tap your right elbow towards your right knee. Do ten reps on each side.
Tree with V Pull Down
Tree with V Pull Down (Photo: Xen Strength Yoga)
From standing, press through all four corners of your right foot, and lift the kneecap to engage the quad of your right leg. Lift your left leg and open the knee out to the side, then press the sole of your left foot into your right leg; either on the calf or the inner thigh. Engage your core, and lift your spine tall, as the shoulders stack over your hips. Keep your gaze soft and focused. Bring arms into a “V” position as shown in the picture, with the wrists turned out. On an exhale bring the elbows into the ribcage as you face the palms toward the shoulders. Do ten reps on each side.
Warrior II with Lateral Raise
Warrior II with Lateral Raise (Photo: Xen Strength Yoga)
Step your feet apart about four feet. Turn your right toes to 12 o’clock and your left toes to 10 o’clock. Bend your right knee so it’s aligned over your right ankle. Stack your shoulders over your hips, as you open your left hip out to the left. Inhale and bring the weights out into a “T” position with the wrists facing up as shown in the picture. On an exhale, press the weights up to meet overhead. Do ten reps on each side.
Side Plank with Rear Fly
Side Plank with Rear Fly (Photo: Xen Strength Yoga)
Start in a basic plank position as if you were at the top of a pushup. Place your right hand underneath your face, roll to the outer edge of your right foot, and stack your left foot on top of it. On an inhale, grab a weight in your left hand and hold it straight up—in line with your left shoulder as in the picture. On an exhale, keep the weight in line with your shoulder as you lower it down under your left ribcage. Do ten reps on each side.