Yoga isn't just about improving flexibility, breathing and relaxation. It can also help tone and strengthen body parts, such as the arms. Many yoga asanas, or poses, that work the arms require at least some upper-body strength and may be a bit difficult for beginners, but with enough practice it is possible to build strength and get those toned arms you've dreamed of. The poses below can be used separately or as part of a flowing sequence.
Start on all fours, keeping your knees beneath your hips and your wrists beneath your shoulders. Press your palms together, and press your forearms into the floor. Curl your toes and lift your knees away from the floor, keeping them slightly bent and keeping your heels off the floor. Continue to press your forearms into the floor and slowly straighten your legs, pressing your heels down to the floor and lifting the sitting bones to the ceiling. Keep your knees bent if your back rounds when you straighten your legs. Hold for 30 seconds to one minute. From here, you may want to transition into downward-facing dog.
Downward-facing Dog Pose
Begin on all fours with your knees below your hips and your hands slightly in front of your shoulders. Spread your palms and curl your toes. Lift your knees away from the floor, keeping them slightly bent with your heels lifted off the floor. Lift the sitting bones to the ceiling. Push your thighs back and stretch your heels down onto the floor, straightening your knees. Firm your arms and keep your head between the upper arms. Hold for at least one minute.
Beginning from downward-facing dog, draw the torso forward so your shoulders are over the wrist and the body is in a straight line. Press the forearms and hands down into the floor and press back through the heels. Make sure you do not let your chest sink. Keep your neck in line with the spine and widen the shoulder blades, keeping your gaze down toward the floor. Hold for 30 seconds to one minute.
Four-limbed Staff Pose
From plank pose, slowly lower your torso and legs, keeping them a few inches above and parallel to the floor. Keep the tailbone in place and draw the pubis toward the navel. Keep your shoulder blades broad, and keep your elbows to the sides of your torso, pushing them toward the heels. Press your fingers firmly into the floor and hold for 10 to 30 seconds.
Tayla Holman started writing in 2006, specializing in technology, health and wellness, and diet and nutrition. She is a graduate of Hofstra University, earning her B.A. in print journalism and English.