Yoga For Leg Strength

Most people choose yoga for the great flexibility benefits it provides. Those same people also learn very quickly that yoga is an excellent way to build strength and endurance for your muscles. There is a yoga pose to work virtually any muscle in your body. Depending on the type of yoga you choose to practice, you may build strength through movement and flow, or you may build it through the isometric work done when holding poses.

How To Get Stronger, Leaner Legs With Yoga

This workout focuses on building strength in the legs and glutes. Its partner article, Yoga for Upper Body Strength, can be done alongside this one for a full body workout or done on different days of the week to balance your workout week. Adding in yoga to your existing strength training routine is an excellent way to add variety and increase your flexibility while building muscle. If you want to tone and define your legs, build lower body strength, and get a great stretch while doing it, you may be surprised to learn that the following yoga poses are some of your best bets. So put down the dumbbells (for now!) and roll out the yoga mat: it's time to do some legwork the yogi way.​

Yogi squat pose
Ben Goldstein

This pose is a great way to begin any leg strength workout. It opens the hips and hip flexors and stretches the legs to prepare for work.

  1. Begin on feet, crouched down with tailbone between ankles and hands in prayer at chest.
  2. Continue to press hands firmly together while at the same time pressing elbows against inner thighs.
  3. Hold and breathe fully.

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Chair Pose
Ben Goldstein

Chair pose is an isometric squat that strengthens every muscle in the legs plus your glutes. The lower you sit and the longer you hold, the more benefits you will receive.

  1. Stand tall with legs together and inhale to reach arms straight up overhead.
  2. As you exhale sit back over your heels until knees are at a 90-degree angle.
  3. Pull hands in a prayer position into your chest as you slide your shoulder blades down. Hold 30 seconds, breathing.

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Warrior One
Ben Goldstein

During warrior 1 you work on posture and opening your hip flexors. In the meantime, done properly your front leg is holding your body weight with incredible strength being developed in your quadriceps and glutes.

  1. From a standing position, step your left foot to the back of your mat and lower the inside of your foot so that your back foot is at an angle.
  2. Bend your right knee 90 degrees and straighten your back leg.
  3. Reach arms overhead and keep torso facing the front.
  4. Relax shoulders and breathe gently in and out. Hold 30 seconds and switch sides.

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Warrior Two
Ben Goldstein

In Warrior 2 pose your hips are allow to open up but the front leg continues to hold you up. Once again your quadricep and glute are used to support your body weight.

  1. From a standing position, step your left foot to the back of your mat and lower the inside of your foot so that your back foot is at an angle.
  2. Bend your right knee 90 degrees and straighten your back leg.
  3. Reach right arm straight over right leg and left arm straight over left leg.
  4. Relax shoulders and breathe gently in and out. Hold 30 seconds and switch sides.

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Extended side angle
Ben Goldstein

Another version of a warrior, this pose continues to use the front leg quad and glute for stability and strength. In addition, taken low enough you will benefit from a tremendous inner thigh and hip flexor stretch.

  1. From a standing position, step left foot to the back of the mat and lower the inside of the foot down to an angle.
  2. Bend front knee to a 90-degree angle.
  3. Reach right arm forward and then lower to the inside of the right foot. Place hand on the floor, but do not lean on it. Lift up through the core.
  4. Reach left arm over left ear toward the front of the room.
  5. Look upward and breath, keeping left shoulder stacked over right shoulder.
  6. Hold with breathing then switch sides.

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Horse pose
Ben Goldstein
  1. From a standing position step feet apart slightly wider than shoulder-distance, toes pointing outward.
  2. As you inhale reach arms overhead wide pressing palms together.
  3. As you exhale bend knees 90 degrees and pull hands to chest sliding your shoulder blades downward.
  4. Keep knees pointed over feet and tailbone tucked under body. Hold 30 seconds and breathe.

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Tree pose
Ben Goldstein
  1. Stand tall with feet together and reach arms straight up overhead.
  2. Tighten your core as you slide your right foot up your to rest on your left calf or pull it higher to rest on your inner thigh. Avoid placing your foot on the inside of your knee.
  3. Hold as still as possible for 30 seconds and breathe slowly. Switch sides.

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Eagle Pose
Ben Goldstein
  1. Standing tall, bend your knees slightly, lift your left foot up and, balancing on your right foot, cross your left leg over the right leg. Point your left toes toward the floor and, if possible, hook the top of the left foot behind the right calf. Balance on your right foot.
  2. Stretch your arms straight forward, parallel to the floor, Cross the arms in front of your torso so that the right arm is above the left.
  3. Bend your elbows and snug right elbow into the inside of left elbow.
  4. If possible place palms together and gently press hands upward while pulling shoulders down.
  5. Breathe and hold for 30 seconds and then switch sides.

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