A simple way to turn standing yoga poses into shoulders strengthening exercises is to shift weight and press your hand or hands into the floor. (Another option is to use your arm muscles against each other to both strengthen and stretch your shoulders).
One option for standing shoulder strengthening exercises is wide leg forward bend. Start with your elbows straight and hands on the floor ahead of your feet. Shift your weight onto your hands and with elbows straight press your hands strongly into the floor. Then shift back and relax. Repeat a few times.
If you are more flexible then bend your elbows and position your hands between your feet shoulder width apart. Here, because your hands are in line with your feet you won’t be able to shift your weight to your hands. Instead focus on pressing them strongly into the floor without straightening your elbows. You may find that it feels as if your feet get lighter on the floor, as if you are about to lift into a bent elbow handstand.
Speaking of handstand, downward dog is another pose that you can use as a shoulder strengthening exercise. You can then use l-shaped handstand with the same intent.
In triangle twist you can do something similiar. Start with your hand lightly on the floor (use yoga blocks or a chair if you can't reach). Shift weight towards your hand and pressing down into the floor. Relax the hand (shift weight back to feet) and then repeat.
You can do a similiar action in half moon pose. Start by in half moon stand with your weight over your leg so that your hand only lightly touches the floor. Then shift your weight towards your hand. As you do so press your hand strongly into the floor.
Then shift your weight back to your foot and relax your hand.
A slightly different exercise is to simply focus on pressing your hand into the floor. The weight shift may happen automatically based on the idea of strongly pressing your hand into the floor. You need your body weight shifted towards your hand in order to press strongly into the floor.
If you can touch your hand to the floor in side angle pose (again, use a yoga block if you can't) try pressing your hand strongly into the floor. Imagine you wanted to lift your front leg. Relax and repeat.
You could use side plank as a shoulder strengthening exercise in a similiar way.
In a standing forward bend with your hands on the floor (you can bend your knees if you can’t reach, or place your hands on the edge of a chair or elbows on the edge of a counter top or table), shift your weight forwards so that your hands bear some of your body weight. Then deliberately push your hands into the floor, strongly.
An initial approach to this exercise is to shift forwards and push, then shift back so that your arms relax.
Another option is a bit more subtle and requires some body awareness.
With your hands on the floor in a standing forward bend, shift your weight to your hands and keep it there. Keep your pelvis stationary and lift one leg. You’ll have to brace the standing leg and the opposite arm in order to keep your pelvis stationary. In half moon pose you can also weight shift to strengthen one arm at a time.
One other option, if you are flexible enough, is to place your hands besides your feet. Then instead of shifting forwards and then pressing down, just focus on pressing your hands down strongly.
And that is the key point, focus on pressing your hand down strongly. As you do so you should feel your arm, and your shoulder activate. In the case of standing forward bend, you may feel your feet getting lighter on the floor.
The Frictional Arm and Leg Strenght video includes a sequence of yoga poses designed to teach you how to use both pressure and friction to strengthen your shoulders and hips.
Learn how to use Friction to improve leg and arm strength.
Simple exercises with easy to follow instructions
Making difficult poses like Chaturanga Dandasana easier to learn.
Learn Your Body with
Frictional Arm and Leg Strength
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Your iphone needs power in order to sense your touch. Proprioception needs muscle activity in order to sense your body.
Some simple exercises so that you can work towards the pistol squat gradually.
Arm supported yoga poses can be used to strengthen the arms and shoulders. Includes plank, chaturanga dandasana, downward dog, dolphin pose, side plank, wheel, reverse plank, table top pose.
This sequence of seated yoga poses includes lotus and virasana variations, janu sirsasana and marichyasana variations as well as more basic seated poses like bound angle, pigeon and seated forward bend.
These hip flexor stretches open up the fronts of the hips and can be used as a preparation for front to back splits. Bent knee hip stretches can be used to focus on rectus fermoris.
Strengthen your hands, your arms, glutes and hamstrings with these standing forward bend variations.
The small actions in this standing psoas stretch can be used to stretch both the upper and lower fibers of the psoas muscle.
Variations of the standing psoas stretch that use the same basic actions.
Here's a break down of the steps of Ashtanga Yoga Surya Namaskar A to make this sun salutation easier to learn and remember.
A reclining psoas stretch I learned from a Richard Freeman Workshop. The better you understand your anatomy the easier it is to work on your body effectively.
The hip stretches included on this page can be used to stretch and improve flexibility of the hip flexors, hip extensors, adductors and abductors.
Friction and pressure are two simple techniques that I use to help my students get stronger and more flexible. These simple techniques also offer a roadway into not only learning how to activate your muscles, but getting a feel for them and your body. Three challenging yoga poses that I use these techniques in are chaturanga, front splits and side splits. While they might not help you get all the way down into the splits, they'll help you feel stronger, and more integrated as you work towards them. And because I've got to pay for my daughters schooling this week, I'm offering a discount on the frictional muscle control videos. (First 100 people only can save over 30%).
Active stretching teaches you muscle control to not only improve flexibility but also body awareness. You'll learn how to adjust postures for better feel as well as more control through a broader range of motion.
Standing exercises for low back pain plus anatomy that can affect the low back and how to use that anatomical understanding.
Experience your body (and understand it) with sensational yoga poses.
Is it a bad idea to heel strike while barefoot running? What are the possible benefits of heel striking? When should you not heel strike?
These yoga poses for abs work on the abdominal muscles (and hips) in both standing positions and seated positions.
Here are the Ashtanga Standing Pose Vinyassas, with inhale movements highlighted in red.
Single joint hip flexors include iliacus, pectineus, obturators, gemelli and gluteus minimus. Use them to help improve your forward bends.
In this preparation for compass pose use your arms to pull your leg towards you for a seated hamstring stretch. To modify, use a strap.