7 Yoga Poses to Feeling Strong

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The Culture-ist has teamed up with Cathy Madeo to give our Wellness Warriors a series of yoga videos to invoke feelings of wellness. First off is 7 Yoga Poses to Feeling Strong. This video sequences the 7 poses below into a strong 12 minute yoga class.

Plank Pose

This pose will make you feel strong by engaging all the muscles of the core. The core muscles “turn on” in an effort to stabilize the spine in the posture. Starting on hands and knees, separate your hands shoulders distance apart. Walk your feet back and lift your knees off the ground. For a higher plank pose, find a line from the crown of your head to your tailbone. Press the belly button toward the spine to engage your deep core muscles. Imagine you are pushing the floor away from you with your hands. Firm the triceps by hugging them energetically toward each other. Find strong legs here as you squeeze the quadriceps and stack heels directly over mounds of toes.

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Chair Pose

This yoga posture tones the whole body. Feet can be hips distance apart, or together. Bend your knees, placing more weight on the heels of your feet, so that your knees don’t pass your toes. Try to maintain a neutral pelvis, neither tipping too far forward or too far back. Press the belly toward the spine and engage your back core muscles by drawing them in and up. Biceps line up with your ears, but keep the shoulders drawing away from your ears as you straighten your arms and firm your triceps.

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This pose is great for building upper body strength, especially the pectoralis major (your chest muscle). From plank, the key is to shift to the very tips of the toes before bending the arms so that when the arms bend, they are in a 90-degree angle. This alignment will not only make you a super strong wellness warrior, but will protect your rotator cuff muscles. Press the belly to the spine and firm your quadriceps muscles. This pose creates heat and strength in the body. You know you’re doing it right, when it feels really challenging! You can always modify by coming down to your knees.

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Side Plank

This pose is great for core stability and building strength, especially in the external oblique muscles. From plank pose roll to the outer edge of your right foot and stack the inner edge of the left foot on top of the right. Lift your left fingers tips to reach toward the ceiling. The right shoulder stacks over the right wrist. Find a line of energy from wrist to wrist. Firm your core muscles and keep your legs engaged by flexing your feet and firming your quadriceps muscles. Switch sides.

High Lunge

This pose builds strong legs. Feet hip distance apart. The front knee bends to stack over the front ankle. The back heel stacks over the mounds of toes. Back leg is straight, but can maintain a micro-bend to encourage proper pelvis alignment. Hip points should be level, and outer right hip moves toward the front of the mat to square the hips forward. Arms reach straight up, palms face each other. Gaze can be forward or slightly up. Switch sides.

Warrior 3

Builds strength and balance, perfect combination for feeling strong! From standing, lift right foot off the mat behind you and flex the foot. Finding a straight line from crown of head to right heel, hinge forward at the hips until your body and lifted leg is parallel to the floor. Outer right hip drops down to square the hips toward the floor. Arms extend straight out in front of you, palms face each other.

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Crow pose

Arm balances build strength in the arms, shoulders, wrists and core muscles, moreover, they will empower you to feel strong from the inside out! From a toe squat, separate your knees wide and lift your hips up. Place your hands shoulders distance apart, wrist crease parallel to the front of the mat. Draw your elbows in so that they are in the same line as the wrists. Shift your body forward until your elbows stack over your wrists. Your feet will lift off the floor. Press inner big toe mounds together. Hug knees energetically toward each other. Engage your pelvic floor muscles and press the belly toward the spine.

About the author

Cathy Madeo started teaching yoga 11 years ago and has been a practicing yogi for over 20 years. She is the co-owner of Honor Yoga Princeton in New Jersey. Learn more at www.cathymadeo.com or follow her on Instagram @cathymadeo

Photos by: Cari Ellen Herman 

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The Culture-ist