Updated - May 06, 2019 05:41 pm IST

Published - May 06, 2019 12:33 pm IST

Yoga meets weight lifting

Combine the flexibility yoga offers with the strength that weight training builds

With modernisation, we have done away with all the daily activities that required us to work with weights. Chores like working in fields, moving heavy items, cooking for large families, washing clothes, and drawing water from wells and carrying it for long distances involved a fair amount of strength.

Weights are required to keep our body in a good working condition, but it’s even better when you mix it up with yoga. By adding weights to a yoga practice, you are stimulating the muscles by increasing their time under tension. This combination builds lean muscles and tones the body, strengthens the bones, improves posture and core strength, and increases flexibility, thereby reducing the risk of injuries.

Note: You cannot load all the yoga poses, as some require complicated muscle and joint movements. If you are a beginner, go slow and only add weights when your yoga poses are close to perfect. Start working with 1-2 kilograms of weight.

I will gently introduce you to the weights variation of the following 3 asanas that can tone and strengthen your neck, abdomen, thighs and calf muscles.

Begin by standing upright with both hands on your sides. This is the foundational pose (Tadasana) for all standing yoga postures.

Utkatasana (Chair pose)

Start from Tadasana — standing upright with both hands on the sides. Hold weights in both the hands placed at the heart center, palms facing your body, slowly lower the trunk by folding the knee joints till the thighs become parallel to the earth as if you are sitting on a chair.

Breathe normally and stay for 30 seconds with weights at the center of the heart chakra . Now slowly turn your upper body towards the left with the left elbow at the right knee and weights still in both hands. Breathe normally and stay for 20 seconds, repeat the same on the right side.

This pose will help tone the legs, knees, ankles, thighs and glutes. It also strengthens hand muscles and improves back flexibility.

Parivratha Trikonasana

Start from Tadasana, widen the gap between the legs to about three feet, with feet parallel to each other and hands at shoulder level and parallel to the earth.

Take the weight in the right hand, Turn the shoulders to the right by twisting the lumbar area and neck. Place the left palm on the outer side of the right foot, keeping the right hand with the weight straight up. Turn your head towards the sky and breathe normally. Stay for 20-30 seconds.

This pose helps in hip and spine flexibility, and tones the core, hands and legs. The abdominal organs are stimulated and therefore, digestion is improved. It improves balance, focus, and concentration.

Navkasana (Boat pose)

Start from shavasana (lie on the back keeping the legs 20-30 inches apart and hands slightly away from the body, palms facing the sky and relaxed) with weights in both the hands, elevate both the legs to 60 degrees from the earth and keep them straight.

Raise the upper part of the body to about 45 degrees, making the body look like a ‘V’. keep the hands stretched parallel to the earth, palms facing each other. Breath normally and stay in this position for 20-30 seconds.

This pose tones and invigorates the abdominal muscles, improving the health of pancreas, liver, and kidneys. It also improves digestive mechanism and metabolism.

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