Want to Build Stronger Shoulders for Your Yoga Practice? – Try This Weight-Training Sequence in Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)

nolan lee teaching woman practicing yoga triangle pose with weights

Yoga with weights?! Really?!? I know some people are really opposed to yoga with weights. I admit that there was a time when I felt the same way, but if you think about it, weights are only props.

From my point of view, in the same way that we use mats, blocks, straps, bolsters, walls, chairs, and blankets, we can use weights to get the most out of our practices when appropriate. 
The purpose of asana practice is to balance and hone the physical body to be a channel to connect to our mental and spiritual bodies. Weights when used correctly, can definitely align with that purpose. It’s essential to be aware of the potential downside – the added weight can predispose you for injuries, so move slowly and mindfully to stay within a comfortable range of effort.

Weight training has numerous benefits, and incorporating it into your practice can help you build strength faster for more challenging weight-bearing poses like Crow, Handstand, or Plank.  In addition to building muscles, weight training will cause you to burn more fat, even at rest, and increase bone density.   

With that said, below is a short video of a great Utthita Trikonasana (Triangle Pose) flow using weights to help build strong, stable shoulders. This flow is great for building strength and stability in reasonably healthy shoulders.

This flow will strengthen the muscles that promote healthy shoulder blade movement and the muscles that stabilize the shoulders. This will also help maintain a healthy shoulder range of motion. As a bonus, this flow will make you work your core muscles too! See the video below. 

PLEASE NOTE: If you have shoulder pain or any doubt about your shoulder health, please consult with a qualified healthcare professional. And remember, less is more! I’ve treated a lot of yogis for “pinchy” shoulders. 

Practice Pointers

  1. Use weights that are not too heavy. Weights that are too heavy will cause you to break your alignment and set you up for strain and potential injuries. You can increase the weight as you get stronger.

  2. Keep your core engaged by drawing your lower ribs in and down.

  3. Lengthen through your armpits when you punch the weights up. 

  4. Keep the top weight punched high, and keep your gaze on it.

  5. Slow and steady wins the race!

This Triangle flow can help set you on your way to soaring in your arm balances. Now go pump some yoga iron and build those strong shoulders!

Reprinted with permission from balancedflow.today

Dr. Nolan Lee is a yoga teacher and physical rehab specialist in Chicago, IL, with an extraordinary passion for understanding how the body moves and functions. Nolan has the unique ability to blend the science of anatomy with the art of yoga. With an active practice at this clinic, Balanced Flow Wellness, he practically applies yoga to restore and maintain health. Dr. Lee also holds a Master of Acupuncture degree and is a NASM certified corrective exercise specialist (CES). He enthusiastically shares his knowledge of yoga and anatomy in lectures, workshops, and on his blog.

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