Arm strength in yoga is all about stability, beginning in the upper back and wrapping around through the deltoids, triceps, biceps, even pectorals, all the way down to the wrists. To develop this kind of stamina, try moving through these yoga poses and noticing how your core plays a helpful role.
Plank: Begin here. The hands should be in line with the shoulders, feet together, squeezing the inner thighs and pressing back through the heels. Abs are braced and shoulder blades pull apart. You'll feel this in your core first, and as it fatigues, your shoulders will activate for backup. Click here to learn how to modify your plank.
Chaturanga: Maintaining a straight line from head to heel, bend the elbows and slowly lower yourself, hovering above the floor. Try to hold this pose for a few seconds.
Upward Dog: Drop the hips to the floor, opening the chest as you straighten your elbows. Keep the shoulders away from the ears.
Superman: Lying on your belly, reach your arms overhead. Lifting from the chest, raise the arms and legs a few inches, hold and release. Keep your gaze to the floor. Instead of pushing down through your belly, squeeze your glutes and shoulders.
Downward Dog: Leading through the hips, push up and back. You want you heels to get as close to the ground as possible. Drop the head and push back through the shoulders.
Flipped Dog: In the downward dog position, lift one leg while keeping equal pressure in the hands. Bend the knee of the raised leg and open up the hips to the side. Release the same-side hand as your foot touches the floor. Reach long and press the hips upward.
Side Plank: On the elbow or hand, come to a side plank. Keep a straight line between the shoulder and elbow/hand on the floor. Squeezing the lower oblique so as not to drop, reach your top hand up and overhead.
Advanced: Lift the top leg and hook the fingers around the big toe as it reaches overhead.
Dolphin Push Up: Come into your downward dog on your elbows, forearms straight ahead. Rock forward, leaning your head past your shoulders as far as they allow, then push up through the hips to return to your starting point.
Handstand Rocks: From your downward dog, walk your feet in closer to your hands. Roll your weight into the palms and fingers, lifting the heels.
Advanced: Slowly lift the legs off the ground a few inches, hold and release. Click here for the steps to a basic handstand.
For an added challenge, try the following advanced poses:
Crow: Begin by squatting low to the ground, feet about one foot apart, knees pointing outward. Place the hands on the ground slightly in front of you, then lean forward, moving as one solid object. Then rest your knees/shins on your elbows.
Sidecrow: Begin in the squat position, but place your hands to one side, shoulder-distance apart. Lean to the side with your knees tucked in, and rest your bottom leg on your bent elbows. The arms should be stacked.
Want more moves for the upper body? Click here to see body-weight exercises to tone and sculpt your arms.