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Powerful Vinyasa Yoga Poses to Imporve Your Practice

From Shape:

Vinyasa yoga is a great way to warm up your body and better refine the subtleties of your practice. Through this renowned spiritual endeavor you can easily reduce your risk of injury by first allow your body to ‘adapt’ to your style. This type of yoga has been used by nearly every Yogi the Earth has seen, and often integrates more as a philosophy rather than a defined set of poses. Below are some great tips we found from Shape magazine that help break down some basic Vinyasa yoga poses.

Improving Your Yoga Poses

“It’s the job of a good instructor to remind students they can do more than they think they can,” says Kylie Larson, a registered yoga teacher and expert instructor for Yoga Download. Taking a pose to the next level will not only build muscles in places you didn’t even know you had muscles, but Larson says it will also give you a mega confidence boost. “Many of my students are surprised at first when they can do the harder poses, but of course they had it in them all along—they just needed someone to give them a little nudge.”

Consider yourself nudged! We had Larson take 14 basic yoga postures and demonstrate how to amp them up. Now it’s your turn! (So why Om? We can give you 30 Reasons Why We Love Yoga.)

1. Pull-Through Tabletop

Begin by sitting on the ground, feet planted, knees bent and hands on the ground just behind your hips. Lift your hips until your torso is parallel to the ground, like the top of a table.

Using your core muscles, lower your hips down and through your hands, careful not to let your bottom touch the ground. Hold for three to five breaths then return to reverse tabletop.

2. Elevated Chair

From a standing position, lower your hips down and back until you are in a squat position. Keep your knees together and abs tight and raise your arms up on either side of your head. Slowly lift up as high as you can on your toes without losing your balance.

Lower down two more inches into your squat. Hold for three to five breaths. For even more burn, squat down until your bottom is almost touching your heels and then move back up to parallel, never letting your heels drop.

3. 90-Degree Extension

Start on your hands and knees. Raise right leg directly behind you until it is level with your hip. Lift left arm until it is even with your shoulder and you are balancing your right hand and left knee.

Slowly move your lifted leg ninety degrees to the right and your lifted arm ninety degrees to the left. Hold for three breaths then return to spinal balance.

4. Airplane Lunge

Standing firmly on left leg, tilt forward and lift right leg up behind you with arms by your side, as if you were playing “airplane.”

Bend left knee and lower down as far as you comfortably can into a single-leg squat while still keeping right leg extended. Do five slow squats.

5. Side Plank Knee Crunch

Lay on left side. Place left hand on the ground and push upper body off the ground, lifting hips until the only things touching are the edges of your feet and your hand.

Lift right arm and right knee, bend, then bring them together until elbow touches knee. Hold the side crunch for five slow breaths.

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