Although the verdict has been out for quite some time that lifting light weights with lots of reps won’t add bulk, it didn’t give me the long, lengthened look that I wanted. I’ve been doing power yoga for about three years now, and each month I find myself liking what I see in the mirror more and more. No, my arms will never be Pixy Stick-thin (and truthfully, would teeny, tiny twig arms even look right on so many of our bodies?), but now my upper arms — and shoulders, back, and yes, I even see a feminine little line called a bicep! — are looking toned and taught.
To see the most change in your shape, you’ll need to commit to about three sessions a week. Make sure your class focuses on plenty of chaturanga dandasans, a power-packed almost-pushup. I love Power Yoga Works (3527 Lancaster Ave., Philadelphia, 215-243-YOGA; 81 Lancaster Ave., Malvern, 610-889-9642; poweryogaworks.com) 90-minute classes. You positively drip with sweat when you’re through.
On days you can’t make it to class (three sessions a week is a what I aim for, but I’m lucky if I can make two!), spend about 15 to 20 minutes at home doing a few downward-facing dogs, planks, chaturanga dandasans, and dolphin plank poses (this one still kills me!). Hold each pose as long as you can, breathing deeply. Rest for a few seconds and then repeat 2 to 3 more times, adding reps as you gain strength.
A few months of regular, consistent practice and you’ll be seeing, and feeling, a more toned and strengthened upper arm.
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