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How Yoga Tones and Builds Your Muscles (+5 Poses to Do So)

by Nicola Anderson

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Lifting weights at the gym puts unnecessary stress on your muscles and bones. It does slim you down and adds muscle mass, but the process involves the tearing of muscles and healing which can be painful for beginners. So, why not try yoga instead?

Yoga doesn’t have the reputation of an exercise that helps you lose weight and build muscles. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t an excellent practice to do so.

Yoga has specific poses that can put the right amount of tension on your muscles, it can burn a lot of calories, and your body builds new muscles as a result. All while also becoming bendier!

The following yoga poses can help you burn calories and tone your muscles. And they don’t put any added stress on your spine. In fact, they are beneficial for your back!


1. Tree Pose


Originally named Vrikshasana, the pose is perfect for improving body balance. It’s a rare pose because you have to keep your eyes wide open to avoid falling.

The perfect time to perform the tree pose is early in the morning before you’ve had your breakfast.

It will strengthen the muscles in your legs, arms, and back. You will feel a difference in your concentration level.

This is pose is ideal for beginners as the difficulty level is low. You have to hold the pose for about one minute for it to be effective.

  • Bend one leg while standing and move the foot up the straight leg.
  • Make sure you are balanced when you move the foot up.
  • The knee should be at a 90-degree angle from your leg.
  • Take your hands up over your head and hold them together while keeping them straight.


2. Warrior 1 Pose


Named after a great warrior, the Virabhadrasana stretches the chest muscles, thighs, calves and arms. It is also proven to improve one’s focus and blood flow.

This posture also has a low difficulty level, therefore, it is suitable for beginners. Hold this pose for 20-30 seconds.

  • Perform a lunge and hold the position.
  • Place your hands on your hips to square them.
  • Inhale deeply to stretch the chest.
  • Move the hands slowly above and make an H shape.


3. Triangle Pose


You can practice the Trikonasana or triangle pose early in the morning or in the evening. Make sure that you don’t eat anything a few hours before you perform the pose.

This pose will improve your arm, leg, knee, hip and shoulder muscles. It will also stretch the spine and improve your digestion. Hold it for 30-45 seconds to get better results.

  • Stretch your legs about 3 feet wide from a standing position.
  • Fingers of your feet should be facing away from your body to the left and right.
  • Raise your arms up and rotate your body to touch your right arm with the right leg.


4. Bridge Pose


Also known as Setu Bandhasana in Sanskrit, this pose stretches your back, chest and hip muscles. The Bridge pose is great for anyone who has breathing issues and it also combats depression and anxiety disorders.

  • Lie flat on the ground and bend your knees.
  • Your feet should be flat on the ground.
  • Lift your hips upwards until they are parallel to the floor.
  • Bring your arms together under your hips.
  • Lift your chin slightly and inhale deeply.


5. Cobra Pose


The pose resembles the king cobra snake. The Bhujangasana or Cobra pose should be practiced early in the morning on an empty stomach. It is great for strengthening your core and tone the muscles in your shoulders

  • Lie on the floor face first.
  • Bring your elbows close to your body.
  • Stretch your feet away from your body and flatten them.
  • Lift your chest from the floor with the help of your arms.
  • Straighten your neck as much as possible and hold.

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