You’ve been practicing yoga for awhile. You’ve started to feel a sense of accomplishment in many of the poses. You can get through a couple rounds of the sun salutation without collapsing. So, why is downward facing dog pose still so difficult? Does your teacher seem to make you hold it forever? Or maybe you’re an advanced student and down dog is a breeze for you. But you’re trying to learn headstand or (are they kidding) handstand, and you feel as though you’re never going to be strong enough (not to mention brave enough) to get up into, much less hold, these challenging inversions. The issue in all these (and many other) poses may be learning to use your arms and shoulders as a team.

Who doesn’t want strong, sculpted, shapely arms? I’ll tell you that all the strength training exercises in the world never got me better results than when I started doing yoga regularly. Since many of the poses require you to hold your own body weight in unique positions, you end up working your muscles more effectively. Give this sequence a try and you’re sure to get the toned arms and upper back you crave.

Kundalni Yoga has many sets which are designed to give you a full body workout, and I will be uploading some of those sets in the near future. For now though, I want to teach you a simple sequence of exercises which will really help strengthen and build your arms, chest and shoulders. This training will prepare you for the more advanced sets that I plan to upload in the future. This exercise is a variation of Cobra Push-ups and is excellent for upper body strength and power.

From upward-facing dog, begin to curl your toes under, returning to downward-facing dog. Change your arm position by placing your forearms on the floor, palms facing each other. Do one arm at a time, otherwise you may fall flat on your face. This pose is similar to downward-facing dog; however, your forearms remain on the floor. Hold your head between your upper arms as you continue to press your forearms into the floor. This is a more challenging position and may take time to learn.

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