January 23, 2020 at 12:00PM by CWC
Anyone who’s tried to execute crow pose (a Cirque du Soleil-worthy arm balance) knows that yoga demands a lot—I repeat, a lot—of arm strength. Even Vinyasa staples like downward-facing dog can light up your body from your fingertips to your armpits. So whether you find yourself longing to get comfier in basic poses or eager to incorporate moves like handstand into your practice, a yoga for arms sequence might be just what the teacher ordered.
In our newest episode of Well+Good’s Good Moves, yoga instructor Andrea Russell walks you through an under-10-minute flow designed to work out the kinks in your wrists, forearms, upper arms, and shoulders (and there’s a killer move known as “turbo dog” that truly belongs in a league of its own). In less time than it takes you to whip up a quick, healthy dinner or catch up on your Instagram feed you’ll both tone and stretch the muscles that help you carry heavy grocery bags and do so, so much more. Let’s yoga.
Try this under-10 yoga for arms sequence
1. Tricep stretch: From a comfortable, crisscross seated position, reach your arms overhead. Bend the right elbow and grab it with your left hand. Lengthen straight up and breathe.
2. Twist: Reach both arms straight overhead and twist your torso to the right, bringing your left hand to your right knee and your right hand to the ground behind you. Lift through the crown of your head and twist deeper on your exhales. Gaze over the right shoulder.
3. Seated forward fold: Bring your arms back to center and walk your fingertips forward. If you can, fold deeper with each exhale. Walk the hands back up and come to sit up straight. Switch the cross of your legs.
Repeat the sequence on your opposite side.
4. Tabletop circles: From quadruped position, draw big circles with your entire body, moving both clockwise and counterclockwise. Flip your hands around so your fingertips and continue these clock-like movements, going deeper into your wrists as you inhale and exhale.
5. Wrist circles: From tabletop position, tuck your toes and sit back on your heels. Ball your fists and circle them in both directions.
6. Wrist stretch: Take your knuckles together and place the backs of your hands down on the floor. You can bend or straighten your arms depending on what feels comfortable to you. If it feels okay in your body, shift around until you feel a nice stretch up and down your arms.
7. Plank: Shake out your wrists and inhale forward into plank pose with your shoulders over your wrists, your core engaged, and your body in a straight line.
8. Rocking plank: From plank pose, inhale and come onto your toes so that your shoulders move past your wrists. Exhale, come back to plank. Repeat three times.
9. Downward facing dog: Exhales, lift your hips and push back to a downward facing dog. Pedal your feet up and down to feel a stretch along the backs of your legs.
10. Cobra: Engage your core as you inhale forward into plank pose and exhale, lowering all the way down to the floor. As you inhale, press into your hands and use the strength of your back to lift your back off the floor.
11. Turbo dog: Return to quadruped position. Exhale and bend your elbows straight back (not to the sides) so that they go halfway down to the floor. Inhale, push back up. Repeat once more.
12. Dolphin: From tabletop, inhale and lower your elbows straight down to the ground. Tuck your toes, lift your knees, and press your hips back as you exhale so that you’re in a forearm downward facing dog (aka dolphin). Stay for three full rounds of breath.
13. Child’s pose: From dolphin, exhale and tap your knees down to the floor. Melt your hips backward and take the arms alongside your body so you’re curled up in a ball. Shake the head left and right.
14. Side plank: Crawl the hands back out in front of you and push back into plank pose. Bring your big toes to touch and spin to the outside edge of your right hand on an inhale. Look up toward your left thumb and pop your outer hip up. Reach the left arm toward the front of the room and bend the elbow. Grab behind your neck for a tricep stretch. Move through three rounds of breath. Release your left arm, return to plank, and do the whole thing on the opposite side.
15. Cobra pose: From plank pose, lower back down to your belly and return to cobra pose. Lower back down.
16. Downward dog: From your belly, tuck your toes and lift your hips back into downward dog.
17. Warrior II with eagle wrap: On an inhale, reach your right leg up and back. Exhale, curl the knee into the nose and step the right food between the hands. Ground the back heel down so it’s parallel to the back of the mat, spiral open. From Warrior II, wrap the right arm elbow under the left and make sure the elbows are the same height as shoulders. Gaze over the right shoulder. Take three breaths here.
18. Reverse warrior: Unwind the arms and reverse your warrior, bringing the left arm to your thigh and the right arm up and back over your head.
19. Down dog: Take both hands to the floor and return to down dog. Repeat Warrior II with eagle wrap and reverse warrior on the opposite side.
20. Turbo dog: From downward dog, inhale, bend the elbows straight back and come down halfway once more. Exhale and press back up. Lower halfway down, then go all the way so that both elbows are on the floor and you’re back in dolphin pose.
21. Dolphin leg split: From dolphin pose, lift your right leg up to the sky while keeping your hip pointed toward the floor. Lower it down and repeat on the left side.
22. Child’s pose: Lower gently down into child’s pose and revel in all your arm-burning glory.
Listen up, yogi: don’t forget to work your glutes and your core, too.
Author Kells McPhillips | Well and Good
Selected by CWC