The practice of Yoga is very well-known for its enormous benefits to the physical body and the mind. It builds up strength, increases flexibility and mobility, and it is a very effective stress buster. Standing Yoga poses can increase the strength of the quads, calves and hamstrings. A strong lower body and legs go hand-in-hand in keeping the body’s stability while doing all sorts of body movement.
Putting your weight and finding balance throughout the standing poses demands leg muscles to work on stabilizing your body to avoid falling. As you dig deeper into the practice, familiarizing yourself with the techniques that not only tone and strengthen the legs but, most importantly, the mind!
Step It Up!
The following Yoga poses will significantly increase your leg power along with balance in no time. Practice with proper breathing and awareness. Listen to your body and do not force any movement that hurts. Accept your body’s current capabilities. Remember to avoid putting a lot of stress on your knees. Follow along for a fun and effective way of developing leg strength to keep your booty looking great in those new gym leggings!
Chair Pose/Utkatasana. This pose is a very classic move that targets the quads. It also helps correct poor posture and builds up heat in the body.
To do the pose: Start in a standing position with your feet hip-width apart and arms resting on your side. Inhale and extend your arms up, and exhale as you send your hips back. Make your thighs parallel to the ground and allow your heels to carry your weight. Keep your gaze forward to avoid straining the back of your neck. You can also keep your hands in prayer as a variation. Hold the pose for 10 breaths. To release, inhale; stand back up; and exhale as you bring your hands back to sides.
Warrior I/Virabhadrasana I. This posture stretches the hips while strengthening your thighs and back. If you suffer from any neck injury, avoid looking up to your hands. Instead, keep your gaze forward.
To do the pose: Begin in plank position, hands planted on the ground and feet are extended together. While inhaling, bring your right foot between your hands and turn your left foot out at 45-degrees. Exhale and straighten your body up while sending your hips forward, keeping a nice 45-degree bend on your right knee. Bring your hands in prayer, and inhale extending your arms up. Then, press your palms against each other. Keep your gaze on your hands and stay in this position for 10 breaths. Exhale as you bring your hands back to the ground and legs back to a plank position. Do the same technique on the other leg.
Standing Squat Pose/Utkata Kunasana. This pose is very helpful in developing the overall strength of the lower body particularly the hips, ankles, calves and glutes. It is also a good hip, back and chest opener.
To do the pose: Stand with your feet at least 4 feet apart with your feet slightly turned out. Place your hands in prayer and take a deep breath in. Exhale as you slowly send your hips back, bending the knees, making your thighs parallel to the ground. Slightly send your hips forward to tuck your tailbone. Keep your gaze forward and hold the position for 10 breaths. Remember to keep your spine straight. To release, exhale and stand back up then bring your feet together.
These are just a few of standing Yoga poses that will surely kick your leg power up in no time. If you recently suffered from a knee, hip or ankle injury, it is best to consult your physician before practicing. Remember to be patient and have fun while developing self-awareness!