Most fitness experts will tell you that mixing up your workout can lift you out of a plateau and bring you closer to your desired results. Doing the same exercises day in and day out can not only lead to burn out or overuse injuries, it can slow your advancement towards becoming fitter, tougher and leaner. By changing your routine from time to time, your body will be challenged and become stronger as a result.
If you are one of the millions who practice yoga not so much for the repetitive routines some styles offer, but because you love to mix it up, stay fresh and keep it interesting, the following will show you what you can do to add a challenging variation to the classic sun salutation sequence.
In some traditional yoga styles you would normally be exhaling into chaturanga, inhaling into upward dog and then exhaling back into downward dog. This is the mid-section of a sun salute, also referred to as the vinyasa, and is great for developing total upper body strength and tone. However, mixing it up just a touch can be exactly the refreshing change you need to take your upper body strength to a new level.
- Begin in mountain pose.
- Inhale and bring both arms overhead.
- Exhale into a forward fold.
- Inhale into a half lift.
- Exhale into plank pose and then in the same exhale, lower into chaturanga.
- Inhale into upward dog.
Now, from upward dog you would normally exhale back into downward dog, right? Instead, try this new twist on the classic vinyasa and feel those arms getting stronger. Practice this variation whenever you need a little extra “oomph” in your routine. Incorporate it into your regular flowing vinyasa yoga practice in place of the regularly scheduled vinyasas.
- From upward dog, exhale back into chaturanga. You must raise your hips to shoulder level by using your core and arms powerfully to bring both arms back into a 90-degree angle.
- Take a deep breath or two in chaturanga. Your knees can be down to modify this pose.
- With an exhale, press back up into plank pose, keeping your body looking like a plank; long, solid and sturdy.
- Inhale one time in plank pose.
- Exhale back into downward dog.