7 Yoga Poses That Test (and Build!) Your Strength

When I held my first yoga arm balance, all I could think was, “Holy cow! I am holding myself up with my own two hands! No one is helping me! I’ve got this!” Yoga poses translate into everyday empowerment: What you feel on the mat, you feel in life. By practicing these simple yoga poses on a weekly basis, you can build the core and arm strength you need to pull off more challenging moves and give yourself a major confidence boost. Try one pose per each category at least three times a week—you can rest in child’s pose between categories if you need to.

Category A: Forearm Plank

A forearm plank is a great place to start when working on core and arm strength. For those who struggle with a full plank, this pose can offer a feeling of accomplishment. Stay in forearm plank for 30 seconds, and when that feels manageable, work up in increments of 10 seconds until you can hold the pose for two minutes.

Begin on hands and knees with forearms shoulder-width apart. Prayer your hands together, or keep forearms parallel with palms flat against the ground (depending on what feels better on your shoulders). Tuck toes, lift knees off the ground, and step feet back. Reach through the heels and crown of the head, keeping a long spine. Engage navel to spine and breathe here (lower knees, if necessary).

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